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HomeWorldBahrain central bank confident of Gulf fundamentals

Bahrain central bank confident of Gulf fundamentals

 Bahrain’s economic growth is going to be faster next year than in 2009. (Getty Images)Bahrain central bank governor Rasheed al-Maraj is very confident about economic fundamentals of Gulf Arab countries and it is premature to talk about how the planned Gulf single currency will be pegged, he said on Monday.

The global economic crisis has sent key Gulf Arab states – including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — into a downturn this year but a recovery in oil prices is seen helping the world’s top oil-producing region return to growth next year.
As a result, the peg debate is gaining momentum again and the dollar’s retreat to multi-month lows <.DXY> prompted some Gulf policymakers to say linking the planned single currency to a basket rather than the dollar would be considered.
“I think this is very premature to decide on this composition. I think what matters for us now is we get the legal documents, which is the ratification of the monetary union, done as soon as possible,” Maraj said.

Bahrain is a part of the planned monetary union with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Gulf rulers meet in Kuwait next week to discuss the project.

Asked if Bahrain’s economic growth next year will be faster than in 2009, he said: “I hope so. We have covered a lot of ground this year in terms of the impact of the financial crisis. We are optimistic.”

Maraj said he expected “slightly positive” growth in 2009 and 2010.

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