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- Dubai 05:24 06:42 12:10 15:09 17:32 18:50
A single Gulf currency could be launched in 2015 if Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states speed up the process, a senior official from the bloc's secretariat said. The much-delayed monetary union was endorsed last month.
Policymakers from the four states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain – are expected to set a timetable for the creation of a joint central bank, but launching the single currency is still a distant prospect.
"I expect the single currency to be launched in 2015, provided we step up efforts and work of various committees," said Mohamed Al Mazrooei, GCC Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs.
Mazrooei's comment is the first from the GCC secretariat that sets a potential new timetable for the single currency's launch after the bloc abandoned an initial 2010 deadline.
"I think it's an optimistic scenario given the slower-than-expected progress that has been achieved up to now," said John Sfakianakis, Calyon's chief economist for the Middle East. "It's feasible if the political will exists. They need to be steadfast to push it forward and complete technical tasks," he added.
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