Gulf states ride out worst of the storm
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Gulf states ride out worst of the storm

Sectors such as tourism have been mauled in the wake of September 11 events. Yet the broader regional economy is coming through that crisis and the global downturn in far better shape than during the Gulf War. Low oil prices are a concern. But, with confidence intact, capital is returning to local markets as a result of poor returns elsewhere and major project finance deals are under way.

Saudi Arabia resisted the temptation to overspend
as the oil price rose and this may help it now, as the price falls

A senior banker considering a business trip in the wake of September 11 is hesitant. "Some of the stories I have heard about the way fellow nationals have been treated make me nervous about travelling there," he says. It's not a US banker worried about the risks of venturing outside North America but an Arab chief executive contemplating a US trip.

One of the casualties in the aftermath of the attacks has been global confidence in the Middle East. Immediately after, crude oil prices spiked. But since then the fear has been that a global economic slowdown might drive the oil price down, possibly to as low as $10 a barrel. "These events have brought home to us that we live in a global village and that we cannot be immune to international events," says Michael Tomalin, chief executive of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

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