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GCC economic data

GCC economic data

The latest economic indicators for the Gulf Co-operation Council countries: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain

Muscat waterfront. Oman's budget surplus was down to an 'increase in government investments', said the state news agency

Oman posts $220m budget surplus in January 

Oman’s budget surplus reached nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in January, helped by public income from state investments, according to its state-owned news agency.  The surplus was OR85 million ($220 million) by the end of January, down just over 40 percent on the OR145 million surplus registered in the same month of 2023, […]

Vision 2030 developments such as Diriyah rely on oil income

Riyadh revises GDP but pins hopes on non-oil activity

Saudi Arabia has revised its real GDP figure for 2023 to a contraction of 0.8 percent, from a contraction of 0.9 percent. Oil production cuts hit the Saudi economy last year, while analysts are predicting a slide in crude prices this year.  Oil activities decreased by 9 percent in 2023, while non-oil activities increased by […]

A Saudi woman shops for dairy products at a Riyadh supermarket. Wholesale price inflation for dairy products was 14.3% in December

Saudi inflation eases to 1.5% – but tipped to rise this year

Saudi Arabia’s year-on-year inflation rate eased to 1.5 percent in December 2023, from 1.7 percent the previous month, but prices are expected to rise more quickly this year as the country emerges from a slowdown.  Housing costs were the main driver of increases in the consumer price index (CPI), according to the General Authority for […]

A security guard at newly constructed housing in Riyadh. Increasing homeownership is a Vision 2030 target

Saudi mortgage lending rises despite GDP slowdown

Saudi banks’ mortgage lending to individuals and businesses rose in the third quarter, up 13 percent on 2022, despite a slowdown caused by lower oil prices and oil output cuts.  A bulletin released this week by the central bank reported loans of SAR591.7 billion ($158 billion) to individuals and SAR155.5 billion to companies in Q3. […]

Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, spoke on the opening day of the UN Conference on Trade and Development's World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi

Rich nations can’t pay for entire world, says hedge fund guru

The founder of the world’s largest hedge fund has told a UN investment conference that the governments of developed countries cannot be expected to take care of the rest of the world. Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, the US-based fund with $124 billion of assets under management, said those nations’ financial burdens were too big […]

Labourers at Abu Dhabi airport's new terminal, set to open in November. Construction is one of the sectors driving non-oil growth in Q2

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP grows 12% in second quarter

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy hit a nine-year high in the second quarter of this year, driven by expansion in the construction, manufacturing and financial sectors. Non-oil GDP in Q2 was up by more than 12 percent on the same quarter of 2022, contributing to a 3.5 percent year-on-year increase in total GDP, according to Statistics […]

Families at Dubai Mall. The PMI figures on discounts come despite the Summer Surprises shopping festival held in August

Dubai businesses ease up on discounting as costs climb

Dubai’s appetite for discounting waned in August as more companies opted to pass on increased costs to customers, a survey of non-oil businesses has found. The S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for August found that the impact of rising input costs on margins made companies “less inclined to offer discounts on their products and […]

Workers at an oil refinery in Kerbala, central Iraq. Rising oil prices have helped the country to pay down debt

Moody’s opts to keep Iraq on lowly sovereign rating

An influential ratings agency has decided to keep Iraq on one of its lowest sovereign ratings, despite the country’s strong oil exports and recovering foreign exchange reserves. Moody’s Investor Services said in an annual review released last week that corruption and weak institutions prompted it to maintain Iraq on a Caa1 rating, which is on […]

La Mer, Dubai. Year-round leisure activities add to the UAE's appeal for rich migrants, Henley said

Rich Indians lift UAE to top of millionaire migrants chart

The UAE had the highest net inflow of millionaires in the world in 2022, with that number set to be swelled this year by super-rich Indians. Last year 5,200 more high net worth individuals (HNWIs) relocated to the Emirates than left, according to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report. The study forecasts a net inflow […]

A trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh. Saudi banking stocks are slumping despite steady earnings

Saudi execs’ sentiment soars despite Q1 earnings slump

Sentiment among senior executives at listed Saudi Arabian corporations hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2023 despite aggregate profits tumbling by more than one-fifth, studies show. Iridium Advisors, which is headquartered in Dubai, conducted an artificial intelligence-based analysis of 1,495 Q1 2023 company earnings calls across the GCC. Business sentiment is how […]

Lionel Messi and family Saudi tourism

Middle East beats pre-pandemic tourism numbers

The Middle East has become the first region to return to pre-pandemic tourism levels for a full quarter, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation. In the first three months of 2023, international visitor arrivals to the Middle East were 15 percent higher than in the same period of 2019, the UN agency said. The […]

Manama Bahrain

Rising cost of credit squeezes Bahrain luxury property

The increased cost of credit due to higher interest rates is starting to dent demand for luxury property in Bahrain, with apartments experiencing the most impact.  High-end apartment prices in Bahrain dropped by 1.3 percent quarter on quarter in the first three months of 2023, according to a report published this week by Savills. Luxury […]

Kuwait real estate

Kuwait to let expats buy property to boost market

Real estate activity in Kuwait has fallen over the past year, but the government is hoping to turn that around by allowing expats to buy property for the first time.  A ministerial committee has lodged a proposal to the cabinet to allow non-Kuwaitis to own investment residential properties, according to a local media report this […]

Habtoor Dubai

Al Habtoor forced to look overseas for contractor

Billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor had to look to China and India for a contractor for his latest Dubai development as experts say Saudi Arabia’s construction boom is impacting UAE projects. The founding chairman of the Al Habtoor Group (AHG) broke ground on the Habtoor Tower building earlier this month. AHG was previously involved in building […]

Abu Dhabi by night: the UAE non-oil sector is optimistic about continued growth

UAE businesses buoyed by rising demand in April

The UAE witnessed its fastest growth in new business for 18 months in April spurring a rise in non-oil business activity across the country. The seasonally adjusted S&P Global UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for April hit 56.6, up from 55.9 the previous month, the highest in six months and just short of the post-pandemic peak of […]

The International Monetary Fund and Egypt have agreed on the key policy elements of an economic reform programme

Egypt faces another devaluation, predict experts

Economic analysts are predicting that the Egyptian government will be forced into a fourth devaluation of the Egyptian pound since February last year although uncertainty surrounds its timing and magnitude. Ramona Moubarak, head of Mena country risk at Fitch Solutions, cited sluggish capital inflows to Egypt and a growing parallel currency market due to persistent […]

Shoppers at a supermarket in Sanaa, Yemen. In the UAE, inflation in the cost of staples such as flour is slowing

Relief for online shoppers as food price inflation slows

The price of consumer staples bought online increased in 2022, but shoppers in the UAE are now beginning to see costs plateau. The most significant rise was in the price of tea, which increased by almost 26 percent year-on-year in Q1 2023, according to the UAE Ecommerce Consumer Price Index compiled by consultancy Pattern. The […]

Qatar's new prime minister Sheikh Mohammed, pictured in Doha last November, will inherit a rebounding private sector

New Qatari PM takes helm as business activity bounces back

Business activity in Qatar rebounded in February, recording its highest month-on-month growth since the country lifted its Covid lockdown.  The Qatar Financial Centre purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – released one day before the cabinet reshuffle that elevated Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to prime minister – hit 51.9 in February, up 6.2 points from […]