Six Gulf states may miss deadline for single currency.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and three other Gulf Arab oil producers may miss a 2010 deadline to create a single currency because their economic systems are not yet aligned, Bahrain's Crown Prince said on Tuesday.
"I find it increasingly unlikely to meet that date," Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa told reporters on the sidelines of an exhibition in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He was responding to questions about whether the states could meet the deadline.
The six states, which also include the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman, suffer from a "lack of complementary systems", Sheikh Salman said, without being more specific.
The Gulf Cooperation Council countries plan to establish a single currency on Jan. 1, 2010. Gulf officials have raised doubts in the past few months about whether the target could be met.
Asked whether he was concerned about the U.S. dollar's recent slide to a record low against the euro, Sheikh Salman said: "It's not a situation that we haven't been in before. We can handle it I think."
Sheikh Salman is head of Bahrain's Economic Development Board.
The dollar's weakness has made Gulf Arab imports more expensive, driving up inflation. Bahrain and the other Gulf oil producers peg their currencies to the dollar.
Bahrain Central Bank Governor Rasheed al-Maraj told reporters earlier on Tuesday there was "no discussion at all" among the Gulf's central bank governors about abandoning their dollar pegs.
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, will control current expenditure as it seeks to limit inflation, the kingdom's finance minister said earlier on Tuesday