A report published in the National Bank of Kuwait's Economic Brief on Tuesday (May 18th) indicated that the drop in oil prices and production, in addition to the overall drop in revenues from Kuwait's investments abroad, reduced local economic activity and the volume of commodity imports by 20%.
The report stated that the current account surplus fell in 2009 to 8.1 billion dinars ($27.9 billion), representing 25.9% of GDP, compared to 16.2 billion dinars ($55.8 billion), which represents 41% of the GDP in 2008.
The report stated that the net return on investment fell by 17% to 2.4 billion dinars ($8.2 billion), saying that the fall in the government's net return on investment has contributed to 60% of the fall that occurred in returns on investment.
Saudi investments remain stable
Nasser Al-Gaoud, the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) deputy assistant secretary-general for Economic Affairs, said that the six GCC countries attracted direct foreign investments worth more than $63 billion in 2008.
He made the statement during the Euromoney Saudi Arabia 2010 conference which ended in Riyadh Wednesday (May 19th).
Saudi Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf indicated that Saudi Arabia approved 652 projects worth 40 billion riyals ($10.6 billion) during the four months prior to April. The minister said Saudi spending on investment projects will not be affected, even if the price of oil drops below $62 per barrel.
Inflation in Abu Dhabi hits record high
A report by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (SCAD) published Tuesday (May 18th) on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of April indicated that the annual rate of inflation for consumer prices in Abu Dhabi has reached 2.2% during the first four months of 2010.
The report also explained that the annual rate of inflation for consumer prices reached a record high of 118 points from January to April 2010, compared with 115 points during the same period in 2009.
The report indicated that the rise in CPI will not lead to a rise in all the other goods and services which constitute the consumer's basket.
Jordan's trade with region increases
The Jordan Department of Statistics (DOS) issued a statement Tuesday (May 18th) in which it indicated that the value of trade increased between Jordan and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) by 16% during the first quarter of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009.
According to the statement, the value of trade including gross exports and imports reached 1.5 billion dinars ($2.1 billion) compared to 1.3 billion dinars ($1.8 billion) in 2009. Besides Jordan, GAFTA includes 17 countries and the Palestinian Authority.
The national exports of the kingdom reached 513 million dinars ($725 million) at the end of March 2010, which is an increase of 13.6% compared to 452 million dinars ($638,000,000) for the same period in 2009.
Oman bank assets rise
Statistics published by Oman's Ministry of National Economy on Thursday (May 20th) showed that the total budget of commercial banks reached 14.8 billion riyals ($38.4 billion) by the end of March 2010, compared to 13.6 billion riyals ($35.3 billion) by the end of March in 2009, an increase of 8.5%.
Commercial bank assets including at the central bank rose to 1.2 billion riyals ($3.3 billion) by the end of March 2010, compared to 1 billion riyals ($2.6 billion) by the end of March 2009.