Bahrain posted a budget deficit of 381 million Bahraini dinars ($1.01 billion) in the first half of 2023, the Gulf state's news agency reported on Wednesday, following a joint meeting between government and legislative authorities.

Total revenues reached 1.44 billion dinars in the period to June 30, while spending totaled 1.82 billion dinars, 2% lower than estimated, Wednesday's statement said, resulting in a fiscal deficit.

Officials at the meeting reviewed a proposal to raise the public debt ceiling by 1 billion Bahraini dinars to cover financing needs during the general budget period for the years 2023-2024, the statement said.

Among the Gulf region's weaker economies, Bahrain, a small crude producer, was bailed out in 2018 with a $10 billion aid package from its wealthy neighbours to avoid a credit crunch.

But higher oil prices last year and a strong economic rebound post Covid-19, especially in the non-oil sector, resulted in GDP growth of almost 5% in 2022.

Its economy expanded 2% in the first quarter of this year, driven by non-oil growth amid a decline in oil sector GDP.

Government representatives at Wednesday's meeting attributed a decline in revenue to lower oil prices but were optimistic that higher expected prices in the second half would grow revenue, the statement said.

($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini dinars)

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Rachna Uppal;)