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.