Gulf Economic Barometer

The Gulf Economic Barometer monitors initiatives taken by Gulf states as they seek fiscal, monetary, and trade policy changes to meet the challenge of reduced state revenue from natural resources. The key trend is a major shift in the way Gulf Arab 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
Oman's state-owned Duqm refinery closes $4.6 billion in financing from domestic and international sources.
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.

The Bridge: Competing Megaprojects in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait Boubyan Island
by Robert Mogielnicki During the March 25 Kuwait Investment Forum, Kuwaiti government officials reaffirmed the country’s commitment to develop the Silk City (Madinat al-Harir) megaproject and establish an integrated economic zone on five uninhabited Kuwaiti islands.

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.

Market Watch: Saudi Economic Reform Update: Saudization and Expat Exodus

Oil worker in Khurais by Karen E. Young The experimental nature of Saudization begs many questions of which sectors are targeted and why, and how smaller businesses will be able to assume higher wage costs of hiring nationals.

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: 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: Saudi Arabia’s Neom — State-Led Growth Meets New Global Capitalism

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisions a new kind of Saudi Arabia, or at least the opening of a space complete with yoga studios, beach resorts, and robots in place of migrant laborers. This is the image of Neom, the $500 billion master project to develop an over 10,000 square mile swath of land in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia on the shores of the Red Sea, adjacent to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and southern Jordan.  

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.