Bahrain king approves $16.4 b. spending for 2 yrs

MANAMA - Bahrain's king approved a budget of $16.44 billion over the next two years, a finance ministry spokesman said on Sunday, a 44 percent rise in expenditures in the kingdom, hit by political unrest earlier this year.
"The king passed the law for the budget for 2011 and 2012... it will approve expenditures for 6.198 billion Bahraini dinars," a ministry spokesman told Reuters.
Facing a rising subsidies bill and dragged down by its struggling banking sector, the small non-OPEC energy producer has the weakest fiscal position among Gulf Arab nations.
Analysts polled by Reuters expected Bahrain to post deficits of 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 and 1.7 percent for 12.
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