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Bahrain’s Al-Maraj Says Gulf States Committed to Currency Plans

Bahraini Central Bank Governor Rasheed al-Maraj said the four Persian Gulf states planning a single currency are committed to their goal and are monitoring developments in the euro region.

“We are learning from what is happening in Europe,” al-Maraj said in an interview in Aix-en-Provence, France. “We keep our commitment. I am sure the four countries have the same views.”

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain took an initial step toward a single currency on March 30 when their central bank governors held the first meeting of the Monetary Council, a precursor to a united central bank. Kuwait’s dinar is pegged to a basket of currencies while the other three countries have a dollar peg. The United Arab Emirates and Oman have pulled out of the project.

Al-Maraj said the Gulf states are watching the euro zone’s decisions on “public debt and the fiscal policies.”

Bahrain’s currency will remain pegged to the dollar, he said.

“I think we are not going to change our foreign exchange policy on this short term volatility,” he said. “Currency markets always become very volatile from time to time.”

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