Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product (GDP), which surged 4.5 percent in 2000, is set to have continued its growth in 2001 despite lower oil prices and export revenues, the Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA) said Tuesday, November 27.
"We expect the GDP to grow this year," SAMA governor Hamad Al-Sayari said, without giving further details. In a report submitted to King Fahd, Sayari attributed the 2000 GDP growth to an 8.5 percent rise in oil sector revenues and 2.6 percent increase in the non-oil sector.
The Saudi budget boasted a surplus of $6.1 billion in 2000, the first since 1982, with revenues reaching $68.8 billion and expenditures $62.7 billion, the report said. The surplus represented 3.6 percent of the $168-billion-dollar GDP.
In 1999, the OPEC kingpin made a shortfall of $9.7 billion, the report said. The kingdom is projecting a balanced budget for 2001, but the sharp drop in oil prices and the frequent cuts in output have seen economists predict a slight deficit. SAMA said the surplus in the balance of payments rose sharply from $400 million in 1999 to $14.3 billion in 2000, due to a 57.9 percent increase in oil revenues to $70.7 billion.
Non-oil revenues rose 13.9 percent from $5.8 billion to $6.6 billion, the report said, predicting that the balance of payments will continue to boast a surplus in 2001. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil producer and exporter, but its daily production was cut from more than 8.3 million barrels at the start of the year to about 7.5 million from September.
SAMA said the population of Saudi Arabia rose to 22 million by the end of last year, of whom 16.2 million, or 73.6 percent, were Saudi nationals. The remaining 5.8 million people were foreign workers. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )