Bahrain’s Q1 2020 Economic Quarterly report exhibits decline on all fronts

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Bahrain’s Ministry of Finance and National Economy declared the Economic Quarterly report for Q1 2020 which covers the Kingdom’s economic data across various sectors, as well as an assessment of global and regional economic developments.

COVID-19 impact has significantly affected Bahrain’s overall economic performance in Q1, inducing a drop in real GDP growth (at constant prices) at a year on year rate of 1.1%, while the rate of decline reached 4.9% at current prices.

The oil sector registered growth at an annual rate of 1.8% at constant prices, prompted by an uptick in oil and gas production by 0.5% and 12.5%, respectively, although growth declined in current prices by 11.5%. On the other hand, the non-oil sector GDP listed a drop of 1.7% at constant prices and 4% at current prices.

Despite the challenging times, the report indicated consistent growth in a number of non-oil sectors. The manufacturing sector realized a real growth of 4.8%, aided by the increase in the production volumes by Alba, Aluminum Bahrain Company by 42.5%. The social and personal services sector improved by 1.3%, while the construction sector saw an increase of 0.3%.

Due to the international and domestic coronavirus induced restrictions on travel, the hotels and restaurants sector witnessed its real GDP declined by 36%, while the transportation and communications sector declined by 6.3%, as visitors through the King Fahad Causeway and through the Bahrain International Airport decreased by 24.2% and 25.1%, respectively. Other sectors such as government services (-2.9%), financial corporations (-1.6%), real estate and business activities (-0.4%), and trade (0.1%) also witnessed declines in their real GDP numbers.

The financial corporations’ sector continued to contribute the most at 16.7%, followed by the manufacturing sector at 14.9%, and the government services sector at 12.5% in the non-oil sectors to GDP, while the oil sector’s contribution amounted to 17.2%.

Irrespective of the global economic downturn, development projects in the Kingdom continued to progress. The Bahrain International Airport expansion project, supervised by the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications in cooperation with the Bahrain Airport Company, remains on schedule to be completed this year, making it one of the largest infrastructure development projects in the history of the Kingdom of Bahrain at a total cost of $1.1 billion.