The Arab Monetary Fund recently predicted that nine Arab countries would record significant GDP growth rates by the end of the present year. The Fund attributed the projection to two factors: continuously rising international oil prices in 2001 and improving performance of the countries’ agriculture sectors, according to Al-Bayan daily.
According to the Fund’s quarterly economic report, the Saudi GDP would record a three percent growth rate by the end of 2001, compared with 4.5 percent last year. The report also estimated that the Saudi rate of inflation would reach approximately one percent in 2001. The growth rate of the oil sector, which constitutes 47 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP, was estimated at 8.4 percent, whereas the growth rate of the non-oil sectors was assessed at 2.4 percent.
Furthermore, it is expected that the Saudi budget would achieve a nine billion Saudi riyal ($2.3 billion) surplus by the end of 2001, equivalent to 1.4 percent of the GDP. This is the second consecutive year in which the Saudi budget recorded a surplus, whereby it reflected a SR 45 billion surplus in 2000, which amounted to 6.6 percent of the GDP. Revenues of the Saudi budget are estimated at SR 229 billion while expenditures are estimated at SR 220 billion for 2001.
Meanwhile, Oman’s GDP is expected to grow 3.5 percent by the end of 2001. This forecast, which is based on the current oil and gas production levels, suits the targeted GDP growth by the sixth Omani five-year plan 2001-2006. The local rate of inflation was estimated at one percent for the same year.
Other states included in the positive predictions are Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )