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Sun 5 Jun 2011 01:53 PM

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Bahrain king approves $16.4bn spending for 2 yrs

Marks 44% rise in expenditures for Gulf kingdom following widespread unrest

Bahrain king approves $16.4bn spending for 2 yrs
ISLAND KINGDOM: Bahrains king has approved a budget of $16.44bn over the next two years (Bloomberg Images)
Bahrain king approves $16.4bn spending for 2 yrs
Aerial view of the skyline of Manama, Bahrain, on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. Bahrains economy will grow 3.5 percent to 4 percent in 2010, keeping the same pace of expansion as last year, Finance Minister Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa told Al-Arabiya TV channel.

Bahrain's king approved a budget of $16.44bn over the next two years, a finance ministry spokesman said on Sunday - a 44 percent rise in expenditures in the kingdom, hit by political unrest earlier this year.

"The king passed the law for the budget for 2011 and 2012... it will approve expenditures for BD6.198bn," a ministry spokesman said.

Facing a rising subsidies bill and dragged down by its struggling banking sector, the small non-OPEC energy producer has the weakest fiscal position among Gulf Arab nations.

The tiny Gulf island kingdom was dealt a further blow after weeks of anti-government protests in February and March that lead to an imposition of emergency law, which it revoked last week.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected Bahrain to post deficits of 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 and 1.7 percent for 12.

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