MANAMA, 20th July, 2016 (WAM) — Bahrain experienced a pronounced pick-up in its headline growth during the first quarter of the year. According to the latest Bahrain Economic Quarterly (BEQ) issued by the Economic Development Board (EDB), growth reached 4.5%, its highest level since 2014, led by the 12.1 percent year-on-year growth in the oil sector.

According to Bahrain News Agency, BNA, the report also noted resilience of the non-oil economy, which continued to grow and benefit from a large pipeline of infrastructure investment. Nearly US$4bn of projects have now been tendered under the GCC Development Fund, with nearly $3bn of projects already commenced. This marks a near tripling from a year earlier. Also, private sector projects are making good progress, including flagship ventures such as Alba Line 6.

While growth continued to be broad-based across the non-oil economy, performance was particularly strong in social and personal services with 8.4 percent year-on-year gain. This reflects the strong demographics drivers underpinning the demand for private education and healthcare. Construction which rose by 5.4 percent year-on-year, reflects the strong infrastructure investment, while financial services expanded by 3.1 percent year-on-year.

This resilience momentum in the non-oil sector has helped to support strong growth in private sector employment. Overall employment saw an almost 7 percent year-on-year increase in Q1, with the private sector creating 46,669 jobs as compared to Q1 2015, a 9 percent year-on-year gain. According to the Social Insurance Organisation, Bahraini private sector employment stood at 92,567 in Q1 2016 as compared to 91,233 in 2015.

WAM/Ahlam/Moran

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