Inter-GCC trade exchange hits SR431 billion in 2015

Updated 08 December 2016
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Inter-GCC trade exchange hits SR431 billion in 2015

RIYADH: The volume of trade between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries rose to SR431.25 billion ($115 billion) in 2015, compared to SR22.5 billion in 1984, according to a report by the GCC Secretariat General.
The establishment of the GCC Customs Union in 2003 contributed to the rapid growth of the inter-GCC trade, the report said.
In the last 10 years, the volume of the inter-GCC trade rose from SR56.25 billion ($15 billion) in 2002 to SR431.25 billion in 2015, or an increase of 657 percent, the report said.
From the early years of the inception of the GCC Customs Union, the member states have worked to remove trade barriers and exempt GCC-produced commodities from customs duties and, instead, treated these products as national commodities, the report said.
In 1983, the GCC countries established a free-trade zone, which was developed into a customs union by the beginning of 2003.
Since then, a series of laws and policies have been implemented to facilitate flow of commodities and services between the GCC member countries.
These laws and policies have encouraged national products and activated the role of the private sector in the development of the GCC exports, the report said.
Other steps have considerably contributed to promote inter-GCC trade, the report said.
In a related development, the volume of non-oil trade between Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries hit nearly SR63.5 billion in the first nine months of the current year, according to data released by the General Authority of Statistics.
This figure represented the overall non-oil commodities exported to or imported by the Kingdom from the GCC countries, with a balance of more than SR6 billion in favor of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi exports of non-oil commodities to the GCC countries stood at SR34.79 billion while its imports from the GCC countries reached SR28.69 billion, the data showed.
Saudi non-oil exports to the GCC countries, meanwhile, represented 28.2 percent of the Kingdom’s total non-oil exports to other world countries, which stood at SR123.53 billion.  Likewise, Saudi non-oil imports from the GCC countries represented 7.5 percent of the Kingdom’s non-oil imports from other world countries, which stood at SR383.7 billion in the last nine months.
According to data, the Kingdom achieved a trade surplus with all GCC countries with the exception of the UAE with a deficit of SR1.66 billion.  
Saudi Arabia’s trade balance registered the highest rate with Qatar at SR3.82 billion, followed by Kuwait at SR3.8 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil trade exchange with the UAE registered the highest among the GCC countries at SR37.56 billion with exports worth SR18.1 billion and imports worth SR19.76 billion, or a deficit of SR1.66 billion. 
Saudi Arabia’s trade with the UAE represented nearly 60 percent of the Kingdom’s total trade with other GCC countries in the last nine months.
The volume of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil trade exchange with other GCC countries in the last nine months were as follows: Qatar SR5.7 billion (9 percent), Bahrain SR6.15billion (9.7 percent), Kuwait SR6.2 billion (9.8 percent), and Oman SR7.55 billion (11.9 percent), the report said.


Bahrain’s Bapco completes multibillion-dollar financing

Updated 17 min 25 sec ago
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Bahrain’s Bapco completes multibillion-dollar financing

DUBAI: State-run Bahrain Petroleum Co. (Bapco) has completed a multibillion-dollar financing aimed at expanding its refining capacity to 380,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 267,000 bpd.
Bahrain, a small non-OPEC Gulf oil producer with around 124.6 million barrels of proven reserves, gets its oil revenue from two fields: the onshore Bahrain field, and the offshore Abu Safah field, which is shared with Saudi Arabia.
Around 88 percent of the crude that Bapco refines comes from neighboring Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Bahrain’s field.
The refinery’s expansion is projected to be completed by 2022, Bapco said in a statement on Sunday.
It did not disclose the size of the financing, but sources previously told Reuters it was over $4 billion.
Five export credit agencies and a syndicate of 21 commercial banks — regional and international — took part in the financing, which includes conventional and Islamic loans, Bapco said.
BNP Paribas, HSBC Middle East and Verus Partners advised the firm on the deal.