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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Umm Al Quwain, one of the UAE's 7 emirates, issues royal decree increasing government salaries by 100 percent.

7 Visa Rules Changes in the UAE [Infographic]

7 Visa Rule Changes in the UAE The UAE announced several changes to its visa guidelines in a number of categories, including for workers, students, and tourists. The government will allow people escaping or subject to political violence in their home countries to apply for a 1-year visa with the potential for extension, despite not being a signatory of the U.N. refugee convention.

Abu Dhabi Stimulus Plan [Infographic]

Abu Dhabi Stimulus Plan The government of Abu Dhabi announced a $13.6 billion stimulus package aimed at supporting economic development over three years. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan instructed officials to draw up detailed plans for allocating the funds over the next 90 days. Abu Dhabi's economy has stagnated in recent years as a result of lower oil prices, as well as austerity measures taken by the government to curb the rise in deficits. The new stimulus package includes 10 initiatives designed to streamline bureaucratic regulations and facilitate the ease of doing business in the UAE.

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.

Market Watch: UAE Fiscal Policy — Shining Light on Federal Resource Sharing

Government bonds are a popular remedy to budget deficits across the Gulf Cooperation Council states right now.
 

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: 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.

The Bridge: UAE-India Diplomatic and Economic Ties Strengthen

While the United Arab Emirates and India have maintained a relatively healthy bilateral relationship, cooperation has recently appeared to be growing.

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.

The Bridge: Abu Dhabi Share-Swap Deal with BP Forges New Contract Model

by Diane Munro Abu Dhabi capped a year of unprecedented change at state oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Com­pany (ADNOC) with a landmark $2.2 billion share-swap with legacy partner BP. The unique model for a joint venture gives Abu Dhabi a 2 percent stake in BP in exchange for a 10 percent share in the country’s main onshore oil concession.

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: 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: Business Politics in the Gulf

A brief look at state-business relations in the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

Market Watch: Tough Love or Useful Ally? IMF Recommendations for Taxes in GCC

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, makes the case for tax implementation in the Arab Gulf states.

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: Why Renewable Energy Makes Sense for the UAE

For the United Arab Emirates, the political incentives for a renewable energy commitment are as compelling as the economic case.

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.

Market Watch: It’s all in the Financing – Renewable Energy Potential in the GCC and Iran

While both economic and environmental concerns are driving reform processes across the Gulf Cooperation Council states, the real innovation is in how Gulf states harness their business acumen to attract investment and design deals that work for local financial markets, governments, and developers.

Market Watch: “Monetizing Assets” – Has a Great Gulf Sell-Off Begun?

by Karen E. Young Oil and gas producing states in the region have started to sell off their assets in order to offset the declining energy prices.

Market Watch: Volatile Global Markets and the Arab Gulf States

Many investors have long anticipated an economic slowdown, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the Arab Gulf states.