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UAE econ min hopes to rejoin Gulf single currency

Hopes are high that the UAE and Oman plan to rejoin the planned currency

December 5, 2010 3:49 by

The United Arab Emirates hopes it and Oman will rejoin a planned Gulf single currency project one day, UAE economy minister was quoted as saying by a Saudi newspaper on Sunday, ahead of a Gulf rulers summit this week.

Rulers from Gulf Arab countries will meet in UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Dec. 6-7 to discuss political, security and financial issues affecting the world’s top oil exporting region.

“The Emirates still hope that there will be a single currency for the countries of the (Gulf Cooperation) Council one day,” Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri told Saudi newspaper Al-Eqtisadiah.

The second largest Arab economy withdrew from the project last year in protest against placing the joint monetary council in rival Saudi Arabia. UAE policymakers had said rejoining was not on the table unless it is profitable.

Neighbouring non-OPEC Oman pulled out in 2006 and ruled out any comeback.

Only four countries from the six-nation GCC — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain — remained committed to form the long-delayed monetary union but the project made little progress this year with the euro zone debt crisis limiting its appeal.

Mansouri said the goal was to reach an agreement among all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, adding Gulf policymakers would discuss the union during the forthcoming summit.

“We in the Emirates believe our destiny is in the common Gulf region, whether economically, politically or socially,” he said.

The GCC secretary general said in May the single currency was unlikely to be launched by 2015 after missing the initial 2010 deadline.

Analysts have said Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and the main driving force behind the monetary union, faces a challenge to keep the project rolling as the economic power of fellow crude exporters rises.

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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