Bahrain\'s gross domestic product is expected to grow by 3% in 2011, according a report from the Central Bank of Bahrain. In an interview with the Bahrain News Agency, CBB Governor Rasheed Al Maraj praised the projections and refuted rumours that international banks had left Bahrain during the recent unrest and forecasted further economic growth for the next year. \"The (central) bank has issued eight licenses (for new financial institutions) since the beginning of the year and we deal with any request that meets the required conditions without delay,\" Maraj said. Bahrain\'s expected GDP growth, coupled with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa\'s announcement of a 44% increase in budgetary expenditures for fiscal year 2011 and 2012, demonstrates the breadth of efforts to maintain robust economic growth following the unrest in recent months. Al Maraj also expected interest rates to remain stable and announced an 11.5% increase in the CBB\'s gold and hard currency reserves to US$4.5 billion. This positive economic forecast follows recent economic initiatives taken following the lifting of the State of National Safety on June 1st.