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.


Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

Updated 18 November 2018
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Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

JEDDAH: Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the 7th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum as one of the main guest countries attending the annual event.
The delegation was headed by Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who posted a selfie with Putin on his Twitter account.
“We responded to the invitation from our friends in Russia to participate in the St. Petersburg cultural forum, and it was an opportunity to meet with officials to promote cultural cooperation,” the post said.


The forum, which ran from Nov. 15-17, was held under the theme “Culture as a Strategic Potential of the Country,” was attended by visitors from 101 countries.
Opening the forum, the Russian president expressed hope that the event would develop fruitful dialogue between society and the state.
Putin said the forum gives others a chance to get to know Russia more closely, stressed that “what distinguishes his country is the diversity of languages and traditions.”
During the visit the Saudi minister held talks with the Russian president on the sidelines of the event.
He also met his Italian counterpart, Alberto Bonisoli, on the sidelines of the forum to discuss areas of joint cooperation between the two countries and means of enhancing Saudi-Italian cultural relations.
“I was delighted to meet with the Italian Minister of Culture and we have many opportunities for a future of strong cooperation between the two countries,” Prince Badr tweeted.

Bonisoli said that culture is “a means of communication” for politics, even when serious international crises occur.
“If there are problems between two or more countries, according to their positions, culture is still a way to convey the messages of partnerships, communities, politicians, and sometimes to promote fundamental values,” he added.
The St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum annually attracts thousands of experts in the field of culture from all over the world.
Stars of theater, opera and ballet, renowned directors and musicians, public figures, representatives of and academic communities, all attend the event.
The year’s program includes 14 pavilions, including museums, circuses, theaters, cinema, literature, tourism, folklore and popular culture.