Bahrain says Q1 economic growth picks up to 2-year high

Bahrain experienced a pronounced pick-up in its headline growth during the first quarter of the year, according to the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Its latest Bahrain Economic Quarterly report showed growth reached 4.5 percent, its highest level since 2014, led by the 12.1 percent year-on-year growth in the oil sector.

The report also noted resilience in the non-oil economy, where it continued to grow and benefit from a large pipeline of infrastructure investment.

EDB said nearly $4 billion of projects have now been tendered under the GCC Development Fund, with nearly $3 billion of projects already commenced, marking a near tripling from a year earlier.

While growth continued to be broad-based across the non-oil economy, performance was particularly strong in social and personal services with 8.4 percent year-on-year gain, the report said.

It added that construction rose by 5.4 percent year-on-year, while financial services expanded by 3.1 percent year-on-year.

Overall employment saw an almost 7 percent year-on-year increase in Q1, with the private sector creating 46,669 jobs. According to the Social Insurance Organisation, Bahraini private sector employment stood at 92,567 in Q1 2016 compared to 91,233 in 2015.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the EDB, said: “We are very encouraged by the resilience of the Bahraini economy in the face of a challenging global economy. This reflects the strengths of the fundamental factors underpinning long term growth in the region, the positive impact of the strategic infrastructure investment programme and Bahrain’s unique position as a location from which businesses can access the opportunities in the GCC.

“There are very significant challenges for all GCC governments in adjusting to a lower oil price environment. These challenges are prompting countries across the region to make strategic commitments to economic diversification – something which we are confident will help us maintain momentum in the future.”


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