Gulf Economic Barometer

The Gulf Economic Barometer monitors initiatives taken by Gulf states as they seek fiscal, monetary, and labor policy changes to meet the challenge of reduced state revenue from natural resources. The key trend is a major shift in the way the GCC countries have been spending on public sector wages, infrastructure, and social services over the last decade. The GEB documents the policy changes as they are announced and/or implemented by country and by sector and is updated regularly as data becomes available. The information here is neither official nor exhaustive.

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Market Watch: Trade Wars and Bond-Offs: Side Effects of Tariffs and Tactical Borrowing Hit the Gulf

Donald Trump
by Karen E. Young There are simultaneous efforts by Qatar and Saudi Arabia to attract investors for new bond issues this week. The “bond-off,” or race to sale, is yet a new example of the use of economic means to achieve political ends.

Market Watch: Payment Delayed: The Economic Risk of Gulf Contracting Practices

Dubai Construction by Karen E. Young Like the Bin Laden Group and Saudi Oger, Carillion has proved that the construction of megaprojects in the Gulf, however lucrative and central to state-led development plans, is full of pitfalls.

The Bridge: Qatar Must Adapt SEZs to New Regional Geopolitical Realities

by Robert Mogielnicki
The Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati efforts to isolate Qatar logistically as part of the most recent Gulf Cooperation Council crisis will require a restructuring of the country’s plans for special economic zones (SEZs) – commonly known as free zones (FZs) in the rest of the GCC states.

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Market Watch: Qatar Crisis Heightens Obstacles to the Economic Reform Agenda

by Karen E. Young While there are professed visions of change away from state-led growth, in which new private sector dynamism and the expansion of Gulf equity markets would employ citizens and wean states from oil and gas revenue, the realities of politics on the ground in the last two weeks demonstrate there are more powerful forces at play.

Market Watch: GCC Crisis: Implications

by Karen E. Young As tensions across the Gulf Arab states escalate, measures taken against Qatar are impacting trade, business, and food security. Here are some implications of the ongoing diplomatic fallout with Qatar.

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Market Watch: Isolating Qatar Reveals Economic Vulnerabilities of the GCC

by Karen E. Young The Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati efforts to isolate Qatar diplomatically and logistically from its Gulf Cooperation Council partners highlights structural weaknesses in many of the Gulf states, not just Qatar.

Market Watch: As Reform Agenda Waffles, Citizens Take Life to the Streets

by Karen E. Young Despite slowdowns in consumer demand and general economic activity, there is evidence of alternative economic behavior and microenterprise that is thriving in the Gulf.

Market Watch: Economic Nationalism at the Expense of GCC Integration

As a burgeoning global trend, economic nationalism is also surging in the Gulf states. What may be lost is the decade of efforts in economic integration and negotiations to make the GCC work as a common market, with complementary assets.

Market Watch: Pricing the Trump Risk in Gulf Economies

by Karen E. Young The beginning of the Trump administration points to, at the least, a heightened period of political and economic risk, which Gulf governments, financial institutions, and businesses will have to price, assess, and manage.

Market Watch: International Trade, Investment, and Finance in the Trump Administration

by Karen E. Young Trump’s pro-growth agenda will need partners, and the GCC states are also looking for investment partners in their diversification efforts and for placements for state-owned investment vehicles. It will be the politicization of these partnerships that will create the most risk.

Market Watch: Easing Labor Market Restrictions in the Gulf

by Karen E. Young In the GCC, there is an effort to recalibrate the relationship between foreign workers and Gulf national economies, in both the reliance on foreign labor and the downward pressure it has on service sector salaries.

Market Watch: Transactional Partnerships To Define Foreign and Economic Policy in the Gulf

by Karen E. Young The new Trump administration will likely offer a more transactional view of U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically toward the Gulf states.

Market Watch: The Gulf’s Entanglement in Egypt

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, right, receives Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Ryan Carter, Crown Prince Court via AP) by Karen E. Young Egypt gets caught between lenders as GCC countries struggle to meet their aid promises in times of fiscal austerity.

Market Watch: The Debt Roadshow Begins

by Karen E. Young GCC states show significant interest in sovereign debt, in the form of bonds and loans.

Market Watch: Gulf Economic Statecraft Hits Lebanon

The GCC states have collectively imposed an informal set of economic sanctions on Lebanon.

Market Watch: The Perfect Storm: Labor Markets and Economic Downturn in the Gulf

Amid fiscal deficits, bloated public sectors, and accelerated efforts to create jobs and diversify economies, there is a perfect storm on the horizon for GCC states.

Market Watch: Regional Politics Impact GCC Economic Reforms

Gulf Cooperation Council states struggle to agree upon a shared tax regime as regional politics come into play.

Market Watch: Gulf States’ Fiscal Situation Accelerates Consensus for Economic Reform

The current fiscal climate, in which all of the GCC states face deficits due to declining oil and gas revenues, is enabling a new consensus for economic reform.

Market Watch: Counting the Cost – Military Expenditure in the GCC

As budget deficits become the new norm for oil-exporting Arab Gulf states, there is no evidence that they are cutting down on defense spending.

Market Watch: Egypt’s Economic Recovery Linked to Gulf Banks and Foreign Investment

The stability of Egypt may depend on regional financial cooperation and intervention.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) hikes water and electricity charges, under new consumption-based tiered pricing system.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) hikes water and electricity charges, under new consumption-based tiered pricing system.

Market Watch: Declining Gas Prices, Asian Demand, and Effects on Qatar

by Karen E. Young As energy prices stay low and demand decreases, Qatar, like many GCC states is under increased pressure to strengthen political ties and avenues of economic cooperation with Asia.

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