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UAE dominates Saudi imports

Saudi imports GCC Reuters/Andres Stapff
Precious cargo: Saudi goods imports from its five GCC neighbours are up 5 percent
  • Q1 2024 imports up $5.6bn
  • Oman led growth
  • Qatari imports slumped

Saudi Arabia’s imports from its neighbouring five GCC countries rose 5 percent to SAR21 billion ($5.6 billion) in the first quarter of 2024.

Oman led the growth, but goods trade with Qatar suffered a steep decline, according to figures from Saudi platform Argaam, citing the Saudi General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).

Goods shipped from the UAE were worth SAR13.6 billion, up 10 percent. Oman ranked second with SAR4.3 billion worth of goods, a rise of 19 percent.

Imports from Bahrain fell 23 percent to SAR2.5 billion. Kuwait accounted for SAR384 million, a drop of 17 percent year on year.

Qatar dropped 28 percent to SAR178 million.

Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2024 due to ongoing oil production cuts.

Non-oil growth was up 3.4 percent in the same period, according to adjusted figures from GASTAT.  

Last month Opec+ agreed to extend its existing crude output cuts into 2025 in a bid to shore up prices which are under pressure from surging North American supplies. 

The cuts, which began in 2022, caused a 0.8 percent contraction in the Saudi economy in 2023 due to the continuing dominance of oil and gas revenues in the kingdom’s finances. 

The government said the non-oil economy accounted for 50 percent of last year’s GDP, in line with reform plans to diversify the economy and ultimately decrease reliance on oil. 

Saudi Arabia faces an oil breakeven price of around $96 per barrel to balance its 2024 budget, but the IMF predicts it will ease next year to $84.7.

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