Qatar’s economy will be the region’s ‘top performer’ in the next two years, a report by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch has said.
According to the Breport, Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), would record a GDP growth of 11.3% this year and 9.6% in 2011.
The UAE economy is forecast to weigh on GDP growth in the GCC this year and next, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch report said.
In the Global Economic Weekly Report, analysts said the UAE’s economy would see sluggish growth of just 1% in 2010, with growth forecast at 2% in 2011.
It said it would be the “worst performing economy” in the GCC region for both years although better than the 1.4% contraction it believes happened in 2009.
The UAE, Dubai in particular, was “hard hit” by the impact of the global economic crisis with Dubai World announcing in November that it was rescheduling $24bn worth of debt.
Oman is seen as the ‘second best performing country’ in 2010 with 4.6% GDP growth, improving to 4.8% growth next year.
Saudi Arabia, which launched a $400bn five-year development plan in 2008, is seen growing by 3.2% this year and 3.9% in 2011.
BoA Merrill Lynch estimated that Kuwait’s economy ‘suffered most’ in the region, contracting 2.2%, but said it would rebound with 2.5% GDP growth in 2010, improving to 3.1% in 2011.
Rounding off prospects for GCC economies, the report said Bahrain would see 2.4% and 2.8% growth this year and in 2011 respectively.
In May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said economic prospects for the Middle East and North Africa region would improve this year with the resumption of capital inflows and rising crude oil prices.
But it added that stress in the banking and financial sectors along with slow credit activity were continuing to weigh on the rebound.
The IMF said that the region’s gross domestic product should expand by 4.2% this year after 2.3% growth in 2009, but still short of 5.7% seen ahead of the 2008 global credit crunch. It forecast 4.6% growth in 2011.
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