The Saudi budget for the year 2002 will exhibit a slight deficit, a result of the September 11 terror attacks on the US, Finance and National Economy Minister Ibrahim Abdel Aziz Al-Assaf recently told reporters. Earlier forecasts anticipated the Kingdom would maintain a balanced budget, for the first time in 20 years.
Following the September 11 events, oil prices dropped nearly 25 percent, adversely affecting the economy of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. Oil constitutes 90 percent of Saudi exports earnings, 70 percent of Saudi state revenues and 40 percent of the Saudi GDP, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.
A four billion SR ($1.07 billion) budget deficit is anticipated in 2001 by Saudi British Bank economist John Presley, following a surplus of 45 billion riyals last year, Reuters reported. Presley still expects the economy by up to 1.5 percent this year, propelled by a four percent increase in the non-oil sector.
Saudi exports decreased by 22 percent from 3.3 billion Saudi Riyals ($880 million) in August 2001 to SR 2.7 billion ($720 million) in September 2001, revealed official statistics recently released by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. Saudi export commodities include agricultural products, livestock, natural resources, industrial products, petrochemicals and other petroleum derivatives, reported Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
Saudi imports reached SR 40.9 billion ($10.9 billion) in the first nine months of 2001, of which SR 4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) were recorded in the month of September alone. The Kingdom spent SR 6.2 billion ($1.7 billion) on importing automobiles, SR 4.7 ($1.6 billion) billion on industrial and agricultural machinery, SR 4.7 billion ($1.6 billion) on food products and SR 2.8 billion ($746 million) on textiles and clothing. — (menareport.com)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )