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Wed 7 Aug 2019 06:03 PM

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Bahrain says budget deficit narrows to $1bn in H1

Ministry of Finance says kingdom is well ahead of its projected deficit reduction schedule

Bahrain says budget deficit narrows to $1bn in H1

Bahrain has announced it has narrowed its budget deficit to BD404 million ($1.07 billion) in the first half of 2019.

The kingdom is "well ahead of its projected deficit reduction schedule", the Ministry of Finance and National Economy said in a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency after the deficit fell from BD650 millionin the same period a year earlier.

Last month, a report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Oxford Economics said Bahrain’s economic outlook for the remainder of 2019 remains “challenging” due to weakness in government finances, limited prospects for oil sector growth and a general slowdown in the non-oil economy.

According to ICAEW’s report, economic growth in the kingdom more than halved last year from 3.7 percent in 2017 to 1.8 in 2018, with further deceleration seen in 2019 to 1.6 percent.

ICAEW said it expects a range of measures to be taken to reduce the fiscal deficit from an estimated 10.1 percent of GDP in 2018 to around 7 percent of GDP in 2019.

Bahrain, which does not benefit from the vast oil wealth of other Gulf Arab states, last year released a plan to fix its debt-burdened finances after securing a $10 billion Gulf aid pledge.