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Sun 22 Mar 2015 02:45 PM

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Bahrain's GDP growth slows to 4% in Q4 2014

Rate of growth in Gulf kingdom falls to slowest since 3.2% registered in first quarter of last year

Bahrain's GDP growth slows to 4% in Q4 2014
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Bahrain's real gross domestic product growth slowed to 4 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of 2014, the weakest rate since 3.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, preliminary data from the Central Informatics Organisation showed on Sunday.

Data showed that GDP growth slowed from 5.1 percent year-on-year in the previous quarter and from 5.7 percent during Q2.

The tiny kingdom of about 1.3 million people is among the financially weakest of the Gulf Arab oil exporters, lacking the huge hydrocarbon and fiscal reserves of its neighbours.

Because of the plunge of oil prices since last June, Bahrain's state budget deficit is expected to balloon to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product this year from an estimated 5.0 percent in 2014, according to a Reuters poll of analysts last month.

A big question overhanging the economy is what measures Bahrain will take to limit state spending and raise revenues as its budget deficit swells.

On April 1 the government plans to start raising the price of natural gas for industry. Other economically painful steps are likely to follow, but they are politically sensitive.

Ratings agency Fitch said in February that lower oil prices have changed the economic environment for the region's exporters, with Bahrain and Oman most at risk from the recent price slump.

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