The countries of the GCC – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain – continue to be reliant on natural resources as a primary source of fiscal revenue. Their citizen populations expect a range of social services and patronage from the state and its ruling families. Pressures of population growth and expectations of intergenerational equity have put economic policy at the centre of state capacity.
There is new momentum to resolve, or at least begin to shift public policy to address inefficiencies like subsidies, spur private sector and non-oil growth, and create alternate sources of government revenue. The momentum accelerated with a sharp decline in global oil prices in late 2014.
Castlereagh’s Gulf Monitor provides an insight into key developments in economic diversification, monetary and fiscal policy, social policy and foreign relations in line with the collective ambitions of GCC states to change their economies, yet preserve their systems of governance.
Also housed on this page is the Market Watch collection by Karen E. Young, who has followed and mapped closely the GCC states’ policy response since 2015. It is an authoritative guide to understanding policy formation, reaction and hydrocarbon reliance in the GCC in the last five years.
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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.
Though the Oil Link may be broken, the United States and Saudi Arabia remain linked by economic and investment ties, energy markets and a shared interest in global economic stability.
Saudization, or the reservation of certain jobs and sectors for Saudi nationals, is part of the government’s effort to transform its private sector.
If you are in the construction business and a Gulf government is your client, be sure to be paid in advance.
It is a difficult time in the Gulf to leverage public resources to meet growing demand for jobs, for infrastructure development, and for efforts to build economies less reliant on oil revenue.
The new year is likely to bring some serious economic pain to parts of the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is in a period of top-down restructuring, creating risk and opportunity for its citizens and ruling family.
Bahrain’s current fiscal situation is evidence that sometimes, even with the right policy mix, generating growth can be difficult.
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
Government bonds are a popular remedy to budget deficits across the Gulf Cooperation Council states right now
Education is costly, and in the Gulf, it is becoming a very important component of private sector economic activity.
Economic liberalization tends to bring with it social, if not always political, openings. By definition, liberalization challenges existing orders.