GULF WEEKLY: Oil rises alongside Iran-Israel tensions, Bahrain releases GDP and prisoners, Kuwait in confusion over government formation

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 12 Apr 2024 by Justin Alexander

A skimmable summary overlaid with our analysis and links. Headlines:
* Brent crude hit a six-month high of $92, driven by geopolitics, but the IEA cut its demand forecast.
* Countries including Saudi Arabia, Germany and Russia urged Iran not to retaliate against Israel.
* Comments by an Iranian naval commander raised concerns about Hormuz closure, which is unlikely.
* Saudi Arabia’s revamped manufacturing production index shows metals output up 17% in Feb.
* Neom’s development timeline has reportedly been scaled back, aiming for 300k residents by 2030.
* Lunate and Olayan bought stakes in Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Place office tower.
* OpenAI’s CEO visited the UAE to discuss investments in AI infrastructure.
* Fitch published annual rating reports for Qatar and Kuwait.
* Kuwait’s inaugural Assembly session was postponed amidst rumors about a change in PM.
* Bahrain’s non-oil growth slowed to 3.4%, half the 2022 rate but ahead of Saudi Arabia and Oman.
* Bahrain’s current account surplus narrowed to 6.3% of GDP in 2023, due to lower oil and aluminum prices.
* Bahrain’s King pardoned hundreds of prisoners arrested after the 2011 Arab Spring.
* Databank updates: Bahrain GDP and current account, monthly oil production, Bahrain & Kuwait forecasts.

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