GCC Current Account Surplus at over $300bn
By staff - Sun Jan 01, 7:08 am
Strong oil prices allied with higher output to sharply boost the combined current account surplus in Gulf hydrocarbon producers to more than £300 billion in 2011 and this allowed them to bolster their overseas assets, according to a key Saudi bank.
Saudi American Bank Group (Samba) said oil production by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) swelled by nearly 10 per cent this year and the bulk of the increase was in Saudi Arabia, the world’s oil powerhouse which now holds most of the global idle crude capacity.
“Although imports have also continued to grow, hydrocarbon export earnings have surged propelling the GCC current account surplus to over $300 billion this year, nearly 23.6 per cent of regional GDP on total exports of over $950 billion. This has allowed GCC governments to add to already sizeable external assets, often through Sovereign Wealth Funds,” Samba said.
In its latest monthly bulletin, SAMBA said it expected weaker oil prices and stagnant, if not lower oil production, to dampen exports next year.
“However, assuming oil prices hold at around $100/b, the GCC will still continue to generate large current account surpluses, helped by lower commodity import prices and some moderation in import volumes as projects are scaled back in the UAE.” the report said.
“Overall, the GCC current account surplus is projected to hold at over $200 billion next year, or around 17 per cent of regional GDP.”
GCC’s SWF assets have already been bolstered by strong oil prices in 2010 and a surge of nearly 50 per cent in prices this year. The increase has more than offset losses suffered by those SWFs in the 2008 global fiscal distress.
Citing data by the SWF Institute, Samba put the GCC’s total SWF assets at around $1,108 billion, including nearly $627 billion controlled by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, believed to be the world’s largest SWF.
The figures showed the UAE’s total SWF assets are estimated at $719.1 billion, nearly 65 per cent of the total GCC’s assets.
Besides ADIA, around $58bn are controlled by the International Petroleum Investment Company while about $13.3bn are managed by Mubadala, $19.6bn by Dubai and $1.2bn by Ras Al Khaimah.
The report put the other assets at $296bn for Kuwait, $85bn for Qatar, and $6.2bn for Oman.
Source: Emirates 24×7