Strong growth in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pushed up the Gulf projects index by 0.26 per cent to $3.46 trillion for the week ended 29 August.

The Kuwait projects market grew the most, with gains of 1.02 per cent for the week, taking the total value of projects planned or under way to $168.42bn.

The Saudi market grew by 0.65 per cent to $629.44bn.

Kuwait’s growth came from the launch of six new projects, of which five will be developed by the Public Authority for Housing and Welfare. Together these projects involve spending an estimated $1.7bn on new housing schemes and infrastructure works.

Saudi Arabia’s projects market was boosted by the revival of a $2.5bn plan to expand the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The move, which was aptly timed for the holy month of Ramadan, involves building another 300,000 square metres next to the Second Ring Road to the north, the Masjid al-Haram Street to the east and the Jabal al-Kaaba Street to the west. The expansion will be able to accommodate 500,000 worshippers when complete.

While Kuwait and Saudi Arabia grew, the Oman’s projects market fell by 0.77 per cent and the Bahrain market contracted by 0.14 per cent.

The fall in Oman’s projects market was due to the Duqm independent power project (IPP) being removed from the index. The IPP was estimated at $1bn and has been cancelled during its study stage due to feedstock issues. There is now a study to assess the demands for power and water in and around Duqm.

Outside the six GCC countries, Iraq’s projects market grew by 0.48 per cent to $352bn and the Iran remained flat. Iraq continues to grow rapidly by more than 50 per cent year-on-year.