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Bahrain is the smallest oil producer in the Gulf region. It imports crude oil from Saudi Arabia and exports refined products. Oil revenues account for 85% of total fiscal revenues and 75% of exported goods. Given its limited oil reserves, the Bahraini economy is one of the most diversified in the region. The industrial sector comprises large aluminum and petrochemical plants, and the services sector, including tourism and the financial sector, is large by regional standards (17% of GDP). Since the global financial crisis in 2008 and political instability in 2011, economic prospects have deteriorated. The services sector is no longer the main driver of economic activity, particularly given increasing regional competition, and public expenditure has become the main economic growth driver. Macroeconomic balances have deteriorated significantly since the fall in oil prices in 2015-16, and resulted in an alarmingly low level of external liquidity since end-2017 and a ballooning public debt (over 100% of GDP). The other GCC states pledged long-term financial support in mid-2018 (equivalent to 25% of GDP) which should prevent a financial crisis in Bahrain and ensure that the peg of the BHD to the USD is sustainable in the medium term.


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