Bahrain-GCC trade for the first half of 2021 shows a significant rebound

Bahrain trade with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states for the first half of 2021 reached around USD3.45 billion, up from USD2.88 billion in H1 2020, according to the latest figures released by Bahrain’s eGovernment and Information Authority.

Trade between the GCC and Bahrain reached a total value of USD1.69 billion in Q2 2021, marking a 38% increase compared to the same quarter last year. International trade was severely hampered in Q2 2020 as lockdowns caused borders to close and significantly disrupted supply chains.

Executive Director of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board Ali Al Mudaifa said: “Bahrain has worked extremely hard alongside its GCC partners to boost trade in the region since the pandemic slowdown. Bahrain’s increasingly diversified economy presents excellent opportunities for foreign investors, and we look forward to helping more companies tap into the burgeoning Gulf market in the coming months.

“Bahrain’s strong rebound from the pandemic demonstrates the continuing integrity of our robust supply chains and illustrates our position as a key logistical hub in the Gulf region. Companies here benefit from a competitive business environment, the region’s best-value operating costs and one of the most skilled workforces. The Kingdom also offers 100% foreign ownership in most business sectors,” said Al Mudaifa.

Trade between the UAE and Bahrain made a significant rebound, with non-oil bilateral trade between the countries increasing by 75% year-on-year in Q2 2021. UAE-Bahrain trade reached USD672 million in the second quarter of this year, accounting for around 40% of Bahrain’s GCC trade.

Only Saudi Arabia traded more with Bahrain, with the total value of exports and imports between the two kingdoms reaching USD781 million during the quarter. Trade between Oman and Bahrain stood at USD141 million. Oman was followed by Kuwait, which recorded USD99 million in bilateral trade in Q2 2021.

“We are very pleased to see non-oil trade between the UAE and Bahrain recovering so strongly,” said Al Mudaifa. “These regional figures are a clear indication of our appetite for growth and our determination in our response to the pandemic’s economic challenges.”

Some of the biggest exports to the UAE, aside from iron ore and aluminium products, included cheese and biscuits manufactured in Bahrain’s mega factories. Bahrain is rapidly emerging as a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) leader within the region, with global FMCG giants like Arla, Mondelez, Kimberly Clark and Reckitt Benckiser selecting the Kingdom as their regional manufacturing base and distribution hub.

The value of Bahrain’s global exports spiked by more than 70% year-on-year, reaching USD1.12 billion by the end of the second quarter. Import values fell by around 8% to just over USD1 billion.

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