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Key Gulf Markets

Bahrain provides excellent access to key Gulf markets. In particular, Saudi Arabia is just one hour by road and Qatar 25 minutes by plane.

With the largest hydrocarbon reserves worldwide, these nations are rapidly diversifying their economies. A multi-billion dollar projects market, growing consumption and a need for business services are all creating business opportunities.


Saudi Arabia
Saud Arabia.jpgSaudi Arabia is the biggest of the Gulf economies, being the largest oil producer in the world and owning the largest oil reserves in the world.

Many international companies service the Saudi Arabian market from Bahrain. For example, Kraft manufactures food products in Bahrain for the Saudi market, Yokogawa supports Saudi industrial plants and DHL MENA has its headquarters in Bahrain.

Below are some key facts illustrating the importance of the Saudi Arabian economy:

• Crude oil production daily average 9.4 million barrels in 2013 [approx. 10% of world production (2011)]
• Nominal GDP approx. US$750 billion (2014)
• Population estimated at 30.7 million (mid-2014)
• US$400 billion five-year investment programme announced 2009 (including significant infrastructure spending)
• Non-oil sector accounts for more than 60% of GDP (2014)
• Government debt reduced from 96.9% of GDP in 2002 to 2.7% in 2013
• Drive to increase the role of the private sector
• Huge manufacturing and petrochemicals industry


In 2012, Saudi Arabia announced its highest-ever public sector spending budget, much of which was allocated for the construction of hospitals, houses and schools.



Qatar.jpgQatar is the largest natural gas producer in the world, has the highest GDP per capita and is one of the fastest-growing economies.

The economy is mostly focused on energy and petrochemicals, although other sectors are gaining in importance as diversification policies take effect. The country is also becoming known as a sports destination, as demonstrated by its winning bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

 Below are some key facts showing how the Qatari economy is developing:

• One of the richest countries in the world measured by purchasing power parity (GDP per capita)
• Plans to spend US$125 billion on 176 projects in its 2011-2016 National Development Strategy
• Third largest gas reserves in the world, with almost 13% of total world gas
• Hydrocarbons sector accounts for 38% of real GDP in 2014
• Finance, insurance, real estate and business services is the second-largest sector at 13% of real GDP
• Manufacturing accounts for 9% of real GDP and construction accounts for 13%
• Record fiscal surpluses



Kuwait.jpgWith one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves, Kuwait is seeking to develop the non-energy sectors of its economy through widespread privatisation of state assets and a huge government development plan. The Government of Kuwait expects these two measures to stimulate growth and innovation, while increasing the role of the private sector.

Kuwait has huge hydrocarbon reserves, especially for a country of just 4.1 million people. Government finances are differentiated by the GCC’s smallest debt-to-GDP ratio.

The facts below illustrate the wealth and stability of the Kuwaiti economy, as well as the government’s plans for diversification:

• Kuwait is a hydrocarbon-rich country, with an estimated 8.6% of the world’s oil reserves, producing approximately 3.1% of daily production
• The country is also ranked 20th globally for proven gas reserves
• Government development plan expected to spend US$104 billion by 2015 on infrastructure projects (port capacity, airport, refinery, roads etc.)
• Privatisation law passed in May 2010 intended to lead to wave of privatisations and significant increase in role of private sector
• Second lowest ratio of government debt to GDP in the GCC, at 3.1%
• Energy sector accounts for more than 50% of real GDP