Bahrain sees non-oil growth of 4.7% in first half of 2017

Bahrain Economic Development Board says tourism, financial services are among top performing sectors
By Staff writer
Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:02 AM

Growth in Bahrain's non-oil sector reached 4.7 percent in the first half of 2017, ahead of the 4 percent growth recorded during 2016 as a whole, according to new official figures.

The latest Bahrain Economic Quarterly published by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) showed that robust non-oil growth was almost entirely due to activity in the private sector.

EDB said the positive momentum at a time of fiscal consolidation and minimal oil output growth underscores the dynamism of the kingdom’s economy.

It added that non-oil growth in the first half of 2017 was broad-based with particularly strong momentum in hotels and restaurants, social and personal services and financial services, which all expanded more than 7 percent year-on-year. The figures also showed solid growth in the transport and real estate sectors.

Overall real economic growth in the kingdom reached an annual pace of 3.4 percent for the first half of the year, which marked a small improvement over the 3.2 percent pace of growth posted during 2016 as a whole.

Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economic advisor of the Bahrain EDB, said: “The fact that growth figures have once again surprised on the upsides attests to the exceptional strength of the countercyclical growth drivers in the Bahraini economy, notably the unprecedented project pipeline, led by major ventures such as the airport modernisation.

“However, growth is also increasingly benefiting from important structural reforms. During the first half of this year, initiatives such as pioneering crowdfunding regulations, a regulatory sandbox for fintech companies have dramatically improved Bahrain’s business environment."

The report also showed that Bahrain’s tourism industry is growing steadily. According to the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority, the aggregate total number of tourists visiting Bahrain during the first three quarters of 2017 was 8.7 million – up 12.8 percent on the same period last year.
It added that Bahrain has development projects worth approximately $10 billion under construction across the kingdom as well as infrastructure projects worth over $32 billion either under construction or scheduled for the near future.

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