Regional

Bahrain’s GDP grows 4.5 percent in 2010 and accelerates in Q4

DUBAI:Bahrain’s economy accelerated in the final quarter of last year from the previous three months and grew 4.5 percent in 2010 as a whole, beating forecasts, data showed Thursday.

The Gulf Arab economy, a small non-OPEC oil exporter, grew 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, accelerating from a revised 0.9 percent increase in the third quarter.

Full-year growth beat a Reuters poll forecast for a 4 percent expansion and outperformed 3.1 percent growth in 2009.

The island kingdom has been rocked recently by its worst public unrest since the 1990s as pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets, but its economy continues to recover from the global economic downturn, helped by robust oil prices.

The construction and real estate sectors though have yet to return to pre-crisis levels.The financial sector, which accounts for nearly 21 percent of the economy, is only slowly picking up from the financial crisis and a regional property crash.

Gross domestic product compared with a year earlier rose 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter, slowing from a 4.4 percent increase in the third quarter.

The hydrocarbon sector grew 0.2 percent in real terms in 2010, while the financial sector added 5.2 percent.

Bahrain’s nominal GDP reached 8.627 billion dinars ($22.9 billion) in 2010, the data also showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters in March cut their real GDP growth forecast for Bahrain to 3.4 percent for 2011, from 4.2 percent expected in December following the unrest. Manama still sees a 4.5 percent expansion.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 08, 2011, on page 5.

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