Worst Is Over, Says Abu Dhabi Official, as Growth Set to Rebound

Like other major oil exporters in the region, Abu Dhabi authorities slashed spending when crude prices plummeted to below $30 a barrel. The belt-tightening measures drew the attention of the International Monetary Fund, which said last month that the emirate, home to the world’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund, can afford a more gradual fiscal consolidation. “The worst is behind us,” said Al Mansoori, who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the sheikhdom’s top decision-making body. “Our budget is still strong. The majority of projects are still there and there are other smaller projects which are moving. The economy is moving.” He expects growth to expand as much as 5 percent in 2017, from about 2 percent this year. Abu Dhabi cut spending by a fifth in 2015 and plans a further 17 percent reduction this year, according to the government’s latest bond prospectus. That’s more than a proposed 14-percent cut in Saudi Arabia, which is facing widening budget deficits and must meet the demands of a much bigger population.

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