File - A general view of Atlantis resort is seen in Dubai September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammed Omar
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Salim al-Aufi, Oman's undersecretary for oil and gas, likens attempts to cut the reliance on oil during a price slump to acting "with a gun pointed at your head".Oman relied too much on revenue from crude exports when prices were high, he said.The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will post a combined budget deficit of more than 6 percent of gross domestic product this year, compared with surpluses that regularly exceeded 10 percent in recent years, International Monetary Fund data show.Oil still accounts for almost 90 percent of revenue in Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter globally.Reducing reliance on oil is "very difficult," and typically depends on policies put in place before revenue is hit by a price shock, the IMF said. In the last quarter of 2014, the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 18 percent, the biggest quarterly drop since 2008, and almost four times the decline on the MSCI Emerging Market Index in the same period.An oil rebound could yet rescue Gulf economies from the dilemma.
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