SAMA Releases 48th Annual Report
On the whole, SAMA found that real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.1 percent from $234.6 billion (SR879.8) to $251 billion (SR941.8) while nominal GDP increased by 31 percent to $600 billion (SR2.24 trillion). For the 14th consecutive year, the current accounts balance posted a surplus. The surplus amounted to $158 billion (SR594.2 billion) or 26.5 percent of nominal GDP. Inflation decreased slightly from 5.3 percent to 5.0 percent for the year.
While the overall economy underwent 7.1 percent real GDP growth, most other sectors witnessed favorable growth, too. Year-on-year oil exports increased by a massive 47.7 percent to $340 billion (SR1.29 trillion) as the average price for a barrel of Arab light increased by nearly 40 percent from the 2010 average price. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia benefitted from agreements with other petroleum exporting nations to boost supply which led to production increasing by approximately 14 percent.
While the oil sector improved, so did non-oil sectors. High performing sectors include manufacturing with almost 13 percent growth, construction and building with 11.7 percent growth, and transportation and telecommunications with 10.6 percent growth. Other industries such as water and gas, personal services, and retail and restaurants enjoyed solid growth in the range of 5-9 percent.
Much of the growth in the non-oil sector is attributed to the government’s efforts to move towards a knowledge-based economy. The Saudi Government increased expenditures from $174.4 billion (SR653.9 billion) to $220.4 billion (SR826.7 billion). Such massive spending aims to diversify the economy away from oil and increase job opportunities for Saudis through educational improvements and more offerings of job training. The ratio of current account surplus to GDP now sits at 26.5 percent from 14.6 percent in 2010. Going forward, this offers the Saudi Government much more flexibility when considering infrastructure and development of the non-oil sector.
In other data, Saudi Arabia continues to be one of the fastest growing societies in the world. The population nearly doubled from 15.2 million in 1990 to 28.4 million in 2011. Continued investments by the government in education and funding for infrastructure and non-oil industries seek to harness the youth population to further improve the long-term economic progress of the Kingdom.
Lastly, the SAMA report provides annual projections for the following year. With the trends and current data, SAMA predicts that inflation will remain around five percent and real GDP would rise by slightly more than five percent. All in all, the data for 2012 points to continued robust growth in the Saudi economy and another large consecutive current account balance.The annual report offers an in-depth account of the latest data, statistics, and developments for the Saudi economy. At nearly 400 pages, it offers breakdowns on sectors of the Saudi economy, trade statistics and projections about FY2012. Full text of the report can be found at www.sama.gov.sa.