Dubai's burning ambition :: Telegraph
According to Standard Chartered, the London-listed Asian and African bank, average oil revenues per capita in Qatar soared from about $15,000 (£7,000) to nearly $50,000 in 2004, while in Kuwait, oil revenues per head increased from just over $10,000 to about $25,000 last year. One consequence has been a boom in Middle Eastern stock markets and property developments. The United Arab Emirates stock market surged more than 95 per cent last year, followed closely by the Saudi Arabian bourse, which rose more than 80 per cent.
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Brad Bourland, the chief economist of Samba, the Saudi bank, is forecasting oil export revenues for the kingdom will reach $157bn this year, an increase of 48 per cent on last year. In a report published last month, the bank says that this year will be the "best in the kingdom's economic history".
Some of the mountain of oil-fuelled cash is being spent on buying US and European assets but, unlike the 1970s, a significant amount of these petrodollars is being kept closer to home and invested in neighbouring countries. A very visible result has been an unprecedented construction boom in the region, with Dubai leading the way. Unlike its larger neighbours, the tiny United Arab Emirates state has few domestic oil and gas resources - less than 5 per cent of Dubai's economy is based on hydrocarbons - and analysts believe its reserves will run out in the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the state has been busy transforming itself into a tourist and real estate haven for the processing and spending of petrodollars.