Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan announced that the Kingdom expects a 7.4 percent growth in 2022.
Speaking at a panel on the economic outlook for the MENA region at the World Economic Forum in Davos (WEF), Jadaan explained that Saudi oil GDP would grow 19 percent this year due to the increase in production.
As for the non-oil economy, Jadaan predicted a 6 percent average growth, noting that inflation reached 1.6 percent in the first quarter, amid expectations that it will range between 2.1 and 2.3 percent by the end of the year.
The minister discussed the budget’s surplus, pointing to the importance of the Saudi-led reforms.
“We started dealing with inflation early on. Since the end of last year, we froze the price escalation of gasoline in internal economy,” said Jadaan, adding that “if you let the energy prices go up at the current levels, you would’ve seen the inflation a lot higher, that’s one of the reasons why inflation is low because you capped the energy part of it.”
Also at the panel, Bahrain’s Finance and National Economy Minister Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa stressed the importance of benefiting from surging oil prices in world markets to support economic diversification.
The minister said Bahrain expects a significantly narrower budget deficit for the first half of 2022 due to high oil prices.
He explained that Bahrain witnessed strong economic growth after the coronavirus pandemic, starting in 2021 and accelerating in 2022.
“We have a diversified economy,” he remarked, adding that the non-oil sector represented 81 percent of the economy last year.
He highlighted Bahrain’s economic recovery plan, which was launched in October and focuses on five main priorities: creating jobs, facilitating commercial procedures and increasing their effectiveness to attract investments, implementing major strategic projects, developing promising sectors, and boosting financial sustainability and economic stability by achieving fiscal balance by 2024.
Executive Chairman of Investcorp Group Mohammed Alardhi expressed his optimism for the coming period and his confidence in the Gulf economy.
He said Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are “living the ideal scenario,” mainly where inflation is concerned, in which producers can “raise prices, expand the volume and not raise costs.”
“All these robust, strong visions and reforms are positioning the Gulf to its pre-Covid growth. We are very optimistic and continue to deploy capital in the GCC.”