The Middle East and North African (MENA) region will record a 3.4 percent real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2004, according to an economic forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The unit predicts that Bahrain will be a regional leader next year forecasting a 5.7 percent GDP growth for the small island. Predictions target Qatar’s GDP growth at five percent for 2004 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s GDP growth at 4.1 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s GDP is expected to grow by 1.4 percent and Kuwait will record a 1.1 percent growth. Oman’s growth will reach 1.6 percent and Lebanon will record a 2.5 percent growth. Iraq will witness a whopping 19 percent GDP growth and Jordan will record a 5.2 percent growth.
In North Africa, Algeria’s GDP will increase by 5.7 percent and Egypt will record a three percent growth.
According to the report, oil prices in MENA have held up better than expected. Consequently, immediate prospects for the oil-producing countries are reasonable, although EIU continues to forecast a substantial decline in oil prices in 2004. However, serious security concerns remain about actual and potential terrorist attacks across the region, and this is affecting investor sentiment and tourism revenue.
EIU expects world GDP growth to average 4.1 percent in 2004 and 2005. Measured using GDP at market exchange rates, world GDP will accelerate from 2.4 percent in 2003 to 3.2 percent in 2004, before slowing marginally, to 3.1 percent, in 2005. Latest data in many of the world's largest economies suggest that growth has picked up significantly, with output in the third quarter of 2003 rising at its fastest pace since early 2000. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )