twitter linkedinfacebookacp contact us

ICAEW report highlights impact of OPEC+ production cuts on GCC growth

Hanadi Khalife, head of Middle East, ICAEW. (Image source: ICAEW)


The latest Economic Insight report for the Middle East, commissioned by ICAEW and compiled by Oxford Economics, highlights the impact of extended oil production cuts on growth in the GCC region

The GCC growth forecast has been revised down to 2.2% from 2.7% three months ago, although non-energy sectors remain resilient, according to the report.

Due to the OPEC+ group’s extension of voluntary output cuts through Q3, GCC oil output will decline by 2.6% this year, according to the report. Saudi Arabia, which is bearing the brunt of production cuts, will see oil activities contract by 5% this year, down from a predicted growth of 0.7% three months ago. However, as voluntary production cuts are reversed in 2025, energy sectors will begin making positive contributions to GCC growth.

Qatar’s GDP growth for this year is forecast at 2.2% and is expected to rise to 2.9% in 2025, as a result of its North Field gas expansion project, which is not affected by OPEC+ production quotas. Bahrain’s GDP growth is 3.1% this year, but is expected to slow to 1.4% in 2025. The country continues to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on oil revenues.

Positive outlook for non-oil sectors 

There is a positive outlook for non-energy sectors across the GCC, which will continue to grow. In Saudi Arabia, giga-projects are expected to boost investments in construction, manufacturing and transportation. Strong momentum in the sports and entertainment, hospitality and tourism sectors are expected given the Vision 2030 focus on these sectors. Tourism is a strategic sector in other countries too, and will remain a key growth driver. Tourism activity has rebounded strongly, with record visitor numbers across the GCC in 2023, extending into this year.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait are likely to record see budget deficits this year and in 2025 as the current oil price level is below the fiscal breakeven point, the report forecasts. However, the overall GCC budget position will likely remain in surplus, bolstered by strong financial standings and favourable credit ratings, allowing continued access to funding from capital markets and IPOs.

Hanadi Khalife, head of Middle East, ICAEW, said, “While geopolitical risks present headwinds for the GCC and wider Middle East, we are encouraged by the ongoing commitment to diversification and sustainability targets. Qatar, for example, became the first GCC sovereign to issue green bonds despite not having explicit net-zero targets. Bahrain is also aligning its non-oil economic growth with its Economic Vision 2030 and COP28 commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2035.”

Scott Livermore, ICAEW economic advisor, and chief economist and managing director, Oxford Economics Middle East, added, “Although the region faces escalating pressures amid slowing global economies, the GCC remains relatively positive due to strong bilateral deals and investment.”