MANAMA, 18th May, 2016 (WAM) — Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, EDB, has said that it expects Bahrain’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2016. EDB Chief Economist, Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, said that the forecast rate will enable Bahrain to maintain the same rate of economic growth which was achieved last year.

The Bahrain News Agency, BNA, quoted Kotilaine at a press conference in Seef district, as saying that the non-oil sector growth reached 3.9 percent, a figure that reflects the resilience of structural growth drivers in the economy, specifically the continued positive momentum of diversification along with a sizeable infrastructure pipeline.

In spite of important elements of continuity, the continued downward pressures on oil prices, along with steps toward fiscal re-engineering, is likely to curb growth somewhat in the near-to medium- term. This negative impact is likely to be countered to a significant extent by the large pipeline of infrastructure projects.

During the year as a whole, the growth contribution of the non-oil private sector was 2.8 percent. Government services contributed 0.3 percentage points, whereas the contribution of the oil sector was -0.2 percent.

Growth in Q4 of 2015 was led by the Social and Personal Services sector, which is dominated by private education and healthcare. Year-on-year growth in the sector reached 6.9% during the year as a whole.

The construction sector expanded by 6.4 percent. Hotel and Restaurants sector expanded by 7.3 percent. Transportation and Communications grew by 5.9 percent and Manufacturing expanded by 4.1 percent during the year as a whole.

80.3 percent of Bahrain’s real GDP and 84.9% of its nominal GDP was generated by an increasingly diverse non-oil sector in 2015. The oil and gas sector accounted for 19.7 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP in 2015. In current prices, this proportion is 15.1 percent.

The GCC region approximately accounted for 28% of Bahrain’s total non-oil trade and 50 percent of the total value of non-oil exports. The large pipeline of infrastructure projects in Bahrain has proven resilient in the face of global and regional uncertainties.