Like its Gulf neighbours, Bahrain has continued to offset the effects of the drop in oil prices with a host of measures, including moves towards subsidy reduction, now in place to ease the pressure. Despite the downturn, however, the country has continued to push ahead with many big-ticket projects. Counter-cyclical spending in the energy sector is expected to stand the broader economy in good stead in the years to come, as expansion boosts the country’s refining capacity and provides a reliable supply of fuel for its heavy industries. Indeed, manufacturing continues to play a significant role, with the $3bn project to build a sixth potline for Aluminium Bahrain representing the company’s largest expansion since potline five came on-stream in 2005. The kingdom’s financial sector has long been a dominant player in the region, and despite increasing competition from emerging financial centres in the region, continues to benefit from an advanced regulatory framework, an educated workforce and a relatively low-cost environment.