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Oil propels Saudi GDP growth to near 10% in first quarter

Saudi Arabia’s economy grew at its quickest rate in a decade in the first quarter of this year, thanks to a surging oil industry that fueled a 9.6% increase over the same time in 2021.

The preliminary results come after the world’s biggest oil exporter resisted US entreaties to raise output in an attempt to rein in prices that have spiked since the Ukraine war began.

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

Growth in the oil sector reached 20.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, while the non-oil sector expanded 3.7 percent year-on-year, it said.

The agency noted that data for the quarter was “still incomplete” and could be revised.

The Ukraine war and the resulting rise in crude prices has been a boon to oil-producing states like Saudi Arabia, whose GDP is expected to grow by 7.6 percent in 2022, the International Monetary Fund said last week.

As the war in Ukraine got underway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stressed their commitment to the OPEC+ oil alliance, which Riyadh and Moscow lead, underscoring Riyadh’s and Abu Dhabi’s increasing independence from long-standing ally Washington.

Last month, ratings agency Fitch predicted that the kingdom would record a budget surplus in 2022 for the first time since 2013.

Despite efforts to diversify the economy, Saudi Arabia’s oil dependence “remains high,” accounting for more than 60% of overall budget revenues, according to Fitch.

Courtesy Bol News

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