Saudi Arabia reports its fastest economic growth rate in a decade

Oil has propelled Saudi Arabia’s growth rate near 10 per cent in its first quarter with the kingdom reporting its fastest economic growth rate in a decade.

After publishing its initial estimates online, Saudi’s statistics authority said, “Oil activities led the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Saudi Arabia to achieve the highest growth rate in [the] last 10 years.” 

It added that while the quarter was “still incomplete” it saw a growth of 20.4 per cent year-on-year and an expansion of 3.7 per cent in the non-oil sector.

Riyadh, which is the world’s biggest oil exporter, has resisted entreaties made by the United States to raise output as Washington wants to rein in the surge in oil prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Saudi Foreign Ministry has told the state-run Saudi Press Agency, “it will not bear any responsibility for any shortage in oil supplies to global markets in light of the attacks on its oil facilities.”

Referring to the attacks by Houthi rebels, it said that in order to deter attacks that jeopardise “the kingdom’s production capability and its ability to fulfill its commitments, the international community must assume its responsibility to preserve energy supplies.”

Also read | Saudi Aramco says annual profit more than doubled in 2021; plans to ramp up investment to boost production

Last week, the International Monetary Fund said that Saudi Arabia’s GDP is expected to grow by 7.6 per cent in 2022.

Stressing their commitment to the OPEC+ oil alliance, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have underscored their independence from long-term ally Washington after it refused to supply them with weapons to defend itself.

Highlighting Saudi Arabia’s high oil independence, ratings agency Fitch said that it accounts for more than 60 per cent of total budget revenues and that the kingdom would record a budget surplus in 2022 for the first time since 2013. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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