Bahrain’s economy recorded a slight improvement of 1.40% in constant prices in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the second quarter of the same year. The findings were revealed in the preliminary results of the National Accounts Report for the third quarter of 2020, which was published by the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA). The report showed signs of recovery within a number of sectors, evident by indicators and the positive impact of eased precautionary measures. The signs of recovery varied between markets as they began to recover from the exceptional circumstances of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects, which began to be felt earlier in the year.
Despite the negative outlook that dominated the world economy during the pandemic, the Kingdom’s proactive and unified national efforts helped limit the effects of the virus, resulting in signs of economic recovery. The government prioritized the nation and its citizens, in line with the vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, mitigating the economic crisis through astute decision-making.
Despite the challenges, the Kingdom strengthened cooperation between various oil, gas and energy organizations, resulting in an efficient exchange of ideas and experiences relating to the latest technologies that helped develop the oil, gas, and energy sector during the year. Compared to Q2 2020, the report’s preliminary results showed oil sector grew 1.67% in constant prices and 48.09% in current prices. The non-oil sector grew by 1.32% and 6.99% in constant and current prices, respectively.
The report also revealed signs of returning to normalcy with recoveries in several sectors, such as restaurants and hotels, which achieved a real economic growth rate of 71.07%. The transportation and telecommunications sector recorded a notable growth of 22.42% in constant prices, while financial projects grew by 2.99% in constant prices and 23.40% in current prices.
Some services and other individual sectors, such as salons, health clubs, and certain retail stores, declined by 0.87% in constant prices as they experienced varying degrees of damage from the temporary precautionary measures put in place during the crisis. Trade sector declined by 0.06% in constant prices and 0.03% in current prices.
Manufacturing activities recorded an increase of 4.16% and 10.48% in constant and current prices, respectively. Real estate and business services grew by 0.27% in constant prices and declined by 0.28% in current prices. Construction activities also recorded growth, with an increase of 0.31% in constant prices and 5.51% in current prices.
Meanwhile, government services declined by 12.44% in constant prices and 15.04% in current prices. Electricity and water declined by 1.23% in constant prices but increased by 3.44% in current prices.
Comparing the level of economic performance of the third quarter of 2020 to the corresponding quarter (Q3 of 2019), it is found that the economic growth recorded a decrease of 6.91% at real prices and 9.24% at current prices. The oil sector however showed a mixed response; growth at constant prices by 3.36%, and a contraction of 20.86% at current prices due to the oil prices. The non-oil sector declined in both constant and current prices by 9.21% and 7.31% respectively.
The private education services recorded a decline by 5.29% and 1.04% in constant and current prices, respectively. Meanwhile, private health services declined by 0.56% in constant prices and grew by 0.23% in current prices.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic effect, the manufacturing sector and its production chain, was affected and recorded a decrease of 6.90% and 8.65% at constant and current prices, respectively, However, the building and construction activity had slightly increased by 0.24% at constant prices and decreased by 10.47% at current prices. The hotel and restaurant sector witnessed a decline of 36.61% and 37.19% at constant and current prices, respectively.
Travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world to contain the spread of the pandemic resulted in a major decline in aviation activities, with transportation and telecommunications declining by 41.43% in constant prices and 39.71% in current prices compared to the same quarter in 2019.
The Financial activity including the banks declined by 1.01% at constant prices and grew by 19.45% at current prices. Likewise, the other government services also decreased by 0.41% and 3.40% at constant and current prices, respectively.
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