chapter  5
18 Pages

The Gulf States in Global Financial Markets

The Gulf has always been linked to the global economy in some manner. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, maritime trade linked regional entrepôts trading everything from frankincense to pearls across ports stretching from North Africa to Western India. These trade links fueled the growth of powerful merchant families across the region, many of which form the commercial elite discussed earlier in this work. Yet, over the last half century, the region’s most commented upon contribution to the global economy has undoubtedly been oil. Admittedly, this contribution is not insignificant. The GCC’s share of global oil production nearly doubled from around 15% in 1960 to over 27% in 1970; a level it holds once again in 2017 after having fallen back to the teens in the 1980s.1 Yet equally, if not more, important are the capital gains this oil wealth generated and how this wealth has transformed the Gulf states’ position in the global economy.