SAMA economy report: Positive indicators despite a small GDP contraction

King Salman praised SAMA’s efforts in serving the national economy and achieving desired objectives as part of Vision 2030. (SPA)
Updated 06 September 2018
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SAMA economy report: Positive indicators despite a small GDP contraction

  • Report highlights surplus of SR57.1 billion in 2017 against a deficit of SR89.4 billion in 2016

JEDDAH: King Salman on Wednesday discussed the economic prospects of the country with the country’s finance minister and other officials, after being presented with the 54th annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

The meeting, which took place at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, saw the attendance of the Minister of Finance Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, SAMA Gov. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey and the governor’s deputies.

SAMA, in its annual report, detailed the economic and financial developments of the country in 2017. King Salman praised SAMA’s efforts in serving the national economy and achieving desired objectives as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Alkholifey, on his part, said that the national economy had witnessed a number of positive indicators despite the contraction of the GDP by about 0.86 percent, as a result of the decline of the GDP of the oil sector by 3.09 percent. However, the GDP of the non-oil sector registered a positive growth of 1.05 percent. The average consumer price index fell by 0.9 percent in 2017 compared to a rise of 2.0 percent in 2016.

He added that the most telling achievement was the remarkable improvement in the Kingdom’s current account of the balance of payments, which recorded a surplus of SR57.1 billion in 2017 against a deficit of SR89.4 billion in 2016. Another feather in its cap was the inclusion of the Saudi Stock Exchange in a number of global market indexes for emerging markets – a move expected to attract more local and foreign investments.

Alkholifey expressed hope that the local economy would continue to adjust to reforms adopted during the last two years by achieving good growth rates and contributing to the goals of the kingdom. He added that the policies are helping the Kingdom move toward achieving a diversified and sustainable economy.

He also noted that in early 2018, a financial sector development program was conceptualized to advance the sector and, in turn, support the economy, stimulate savings and improve its ability to meet future challenges.

Alkholifey said that accelerating the growth of the financial sector was one of SAMA’s key tasks – something which it hopes to achieve to support the economic goals of the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.