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Saudi GDP grows 9.9% in Q1, beating flash estimate

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Mecca: Saudi GDP rise due to growth in oil and non-oil activities

Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product grew 9.9 per cent in the first quarter, the fastest in a decade and more than a flash estimate last month of 9.6 per cent, official data showed on Tuesday.

It was the fastest expansion since the third quarter of 2011 with the increase in oil production a key factor, said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

“This growth is due to the high increase in oil activities by 20.3 per cent,” the General Authority for Statistics said.

GDP growth was 2.6 per cent higher than in the fourth quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, while oil activity was up 2.9 per cent on a quarterly basis.

Crude petroleum and natural gas activities were the highest contributor to GDP at 32.4 per cent, the statistics authority said.

Non-oil activity rose 3.7 percent, or 0.9 per cent from the previous quarter. Government activity increased by 2.4 per cent year-on-year, but declined 0.9 per cent from the fourth quarter.

“All economic activities recorded positive annual growth rates in the first quarter of 2022,” the General Authority for Statistics said.

Wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels activities grew by 6.3 per cent from a year earlier, while exports grew by 22.1 per cent, the data showed.

GDP per capita of 26,961 riyals ($7,187) in the first quarter of 2022 was up 33.8 per cent from the corresponding 2021 quarter.

“The underlying data still points to a healthy pace of expansion in the non-oil sector,” Malik said.

“Saudi is in a very strong position, given the limited global oil capacity and the high oil prices.”

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ states agreed to bring forward oil production rises to offset Russian output losses as a result of Western sanctions for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation”.

In April, the International Monetary Fund upgraded top oil exporter Saudi Arabia’s economic growth outlook to 7.6 per cent in 2022, citing higher oil output and prices, from 3.2 per cent in 2021.