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Sun 31 Jan 2010 02:29 PM

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Bahrain cenbank predicts 3-4% growth in 2010

Finance chief also says central bank will issue $1bn bond for kingdom's gov't.

Bahrain's economy is poised to grow by 3-4 percent in 2010, the country's central bank governor told Arabiya TV.

Most Gulf Arab states are expected to enjoy higher growth rates this year than previously expected, helped by global recovery and strong oil prices.

"The growth rate in 2010 will be relatively better than 2009 and can be between 3 and 4 percent," Rasheed al-Maraj said in an interview aired on Sunday.

Al-Miraj's forecast is in line with a Reuters poll of analysts who predicted on Tuesday the kingdom will grow at 3.3 percent in 2010 from 1.5 percent in 2009.

Al-Maraj did not comment on the 2009 growth rate.

He also said that the central bank plans to issue a bond worth $1 billion for the kingdom's government.

Bahrain, a small oil producer, in 2009 had a budget deficit for the first time since at least 2005 as average oil prices remained below its estimated budget break-even of about $70 to $80 per barrel.

The size of the deficit is yet to be published by the government. Oil revenues account for some 75 percent of government income. (Reuters)

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