Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Monetary union key to annual GCC meeting

Gulf monetary union, the inauguration of a regional power grid and a planned rail network are among issues to be discussed at a summit starting today.

KUWAIT CITY // Gulf monetary union, the inauguration of a regional power grid and a planned rail network are among issues to be discussed at a summit starting today as regional leaders seek to boost economic co-operation. The rulers of all six GCC states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - are expected to attend the 30th annual two-day GCC summit to discuss security and economics. Political issues high on the agenda will include the fighting between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels near the Yemeni border and the possible threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

However, the region's economists will be watching developments relating to the planned common currency. A GCC monetary union pact signed earlier this year could be launched at the summit and lead to the establishment of a central bank. The common currency suffered a setback earlier this year when the UAE became the second country, along with Oman, to pull out. The remaining four GCC countries might use the meetings to try and persuade the outcasts back into the fold.

Despite increasing scepticism from economists, officials from the group have said the single currency would launch next year. "We hope that the Kuwaiti summit will see the launch of GCC monetary union, paving the way for a common Gulf currency." said Sheikh Sabah al Jaber al Ahmed al Sabah, Kuwait's emir, yesterday. Even if the monetary union pact is launched, it could be a while before GCC notes and coins are in the streets. Kuwait's minister of foreign affairs said last week the establishment of a unified currency could still take another 10 years.

The summit will also discuss major projects designed to increase co-operation between GCC members, including the establishment of a railway authority to build a rail network between major Gulf cities. Established in 1981 as a loose economic and political bloc, the GCC has often been criticised for its slow pace of economic integration and delays in key projects. "There have been great economic achievements, but ambitions are far greater," the Saudi economist and former GCC official Abdullah al Kuwaiz said.

@Email:business@thenational.ae How the GCC can rediscover the vital spirit of unity, a18

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 The New York Stock Exchange. Rising interest rates will shift momentum away from bonds and back towards risk assets such as stocks. Richard Drew / AP Photo

Plan ahead for rising interest rates

It is now over five years since the majory central banks slashed interest rates to record low but that is all about to change. So, how will rising interest rates affect you?

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National