Report Published: "Bahrain Country Risk Report Q3 2016"

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Jun 20 2016

External financing from the rest of the GCC will help to shield the Bahraini non-oil sector from the ongoing retrenchment in public spending. Despite the negative impact of subsidy cuts on internal demand, we forecast Bahrain to grow at a relatively robust rate of 2.9% this year and 2.6% in 2017.

Bahrain's reputation as a stable and welcoming location to do business in the Gulf has suffered as a result of the volatile political climate. At the moment, it remains to be seen if Manama will be able to compete with Doha and Dubai in attracting investment into the all-important hospitality and financial services industry.

The economy's medium-term outlook remains contingent upon a lasting solution being found to the current political crisis. Unfortunately, we maintain our guarded outlook on the prospects that the government and opposition can come to some form of agreement in the near term.

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Bahrain's weak medium-term fiscal prospects will force the government to make difficult choices. We believe that Manama will have little option but to introduce new taxes over the coming years, while the issue of spending consolidation will loom large on the agenda. Support from Saudi Arabia could delay these pressures, but would entail a significant loss of sovereignty.

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) will continue to follow a pro-cyclical monetary policy over 2016, raising interest rates in line with the US Federal Reserve's moves. Although the government's subsidy cuts will trigger inflation, continued strength in the US dollar, subdued commodity prices, and the CBB's rate hikes will help to offset inflationary pressures.

Key Risks

A more pronounced regional crisis stemming from an uptick in tensions between Iran and the West could see risk premiums spike higher, particularly for Bahrain.

Failure to find a lasting solution to the political crisis has seen elements of the opposition becoming increasingly radicalised, with use of militant tactics such as improvised explosive devices. A continuation of this trend could result in Bahrain's 'safe haven' status suffering irreparable damage.

Assess your risk exposure in Bahrain with our 100% independent forecasts assessing the pace and stability of this key market. Backed by trusted data from BMI Research's 52 million data point economic forecast model, this report will allow you to measure political, economic, business environment and operational risks in Bahrain with confidence.

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