Qatar economy seen as best of GCC in 2010

Bank of America Merrill Lynch makes economic forecasts

The UAE's economy is forecast to weigh on GDP growth in the GCC this year and next, according to latest figures published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

In its Global Economic Weekly Report, analysts said the UAE's economy would see sluggish growth of just one percent in 2010, with growth forecast at two percent in 2011.

The report said it would be the worst performing economy in the GCC region for both years although better than the 1.4 percent contraction it believes happened in 2009.

The UAE, and Dubai in particular, was hard hit by the impact of the global economic crisis with Dubai World announcing in November that it was rescheduling $24bn worth of debt.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest report said Qatar's economy would be the region's top performer in the next two years.

GDP growth of 11.3 percent and 9.6 percent are forecast by its analysts for the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is also aiming to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Oman is seen as the second best performing country in 2010 with 4.6 percent GDP growth, improving to 4.8 percent growth next year.

Saudi Arabia, which launched a $400 billion five-year development plan in 2008, is seen growing by 3.2 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2011.

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