Page last updated at 04:42 GMT, Saturday, 17 January 2009

Crunch 'cost Arabs $2.5 trillion'

A trader at Kuwait City's stock exchange, 8 January
Kuwait City's stock exchange lost 38% of its value last year

The global economic crisis has cost Arab countries $2,500bn (1,690bn) in the last four months alone, according to Kuwait's foreign minister.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah told reporters in Kuwait City that oil-rich Gulf Arab states had postponed or cancelled 60% of development projects.

He did not give details for his figures, which were released days before an Arab Economic Summit.

Stock market falls and a low oil price have contributed to the losses.

The biggest loss was an estimated 40% drop in the value of Arab investments abroad, which had previously totalled around $2.5tn, AFP news agency reports.

"The Arab world has lost $2.5 trillion in the past four months," Mr Sabah said after meeting fellow foreign and finance ministers.

Kuwait City is due to open a two-day Arab Economic Summit on Monday, the first of its kind.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa earlier described the meeting of 22 heads of state as "the largest and most important" Arab event of 2009.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific