The banking sector in the kingdom has proved stable and resilient as reflected by the positive results achieved by financial and banking institutions over the past five months, Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj has revealed. In an exclusive interview with the Bahrain News Agency (BNA), the first of its kind to a local media establishment after the regretful incidents, Al Maraj denied media reports claiming that foreign banks has left the kingdom, affirming that major international banks active in the kingdom or using it as a centre for their regional operations, are working normally. Al Maraj also said that, in spite of the recent crisis, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the kingdom is expected to increase by 3% this year, which, he indicated, will renew confidence in the in the kingdom\'s economy, adding that State Budget for the fiscal years 2011-2012 will have positive impacts on economic growth. He also stated that CBB has licensed a total of eight new banking institutions which showed great desire to work in the country. He also pointed out the BBC\'s gold and hard currency reserves went up by 11.5% from BD1526.5 million by end of March to BD170208 million by the end of April, refuting any intentions to change interest rates. Regarding the downgrading of the kingdom\'s sovereign credit ratings during recent unrest, Al Maraj asserted that credit rating institutions have failed to be successful as they exaggerated the effects of the political side at the expense of the economic one, revealing that CBB officials met those international credit rating sides in June and updated them on the real situation in Bahrain.