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.

Present

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: U.S.-Saudi Economic Ties: Why Saudi Arabia Matters

Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia and the United States are linked by investment ties, energy markets, and a shared interest in the stability of the global economy.

The Bridge: ADNOC Accelerates Partnership Initiatives and Expands Investment Opportunities.

The aggressive restructuring of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is moving at a break neck pace, essentially rewriting its ambitious energy playbook in less than two years.

Market Watch: Oman’s Fiscal Management Problem

by Karen E. Young For Oman, balancing domestic pressures against necessary economic reforms is proving difficult.

Market Watch: Saudi Arabia’s Impeccable Timing in Debt Markets

by Karen E. Young Saudi Arabia's unprecedented bond sale worth $17.5 billion had impeccable timing, given Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election.

Market Watch: GCC Sovereign Debt in a Low Yield World

People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm, in Tokyo on February 15. The realization is dawning that growth may continue to underperform, while in Japan the yield on 10-year bonds briefly turned negative. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) by Karen E. Young Low yields result in more accessible capital for GCC states, however repayment could be a challenge in the long term.

Issue Paper: Gulf Islamic Finance in a Time of Austerity

by Mai Mahmoud
Islamic finance has grown in importance in most of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries since 2013. Islamic banks now represent more than 25 percent of the banking system in the GCC, and the region’s sukuk (sharia-compliant financial securities) market is the second largest in the world after Malaysia.

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: Enter China: The New Bilateral Middle East Aid-Security-Trade Nexus

There is an important new donor seeking to enter the fray, to cement trade relationships and a regional presence – China.

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.

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.