IMF raises Saudi growth forecast on higher oil prices

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (C) arrives to attend a meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) finance ministers in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. (File photo AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018

IMF raises Saudi growth forecast on higher oil prices

  • The IMF raises its growth forecast for Saudi Arabia for the third time since October 2017
  • The IMF raises the growth forecast from 1.7% to 1.9% this year

DUBAI: The International Monetary Fund on Monday raised its growth forecast for the world’s top crude exporter Saudi Arabia, citing higher oil prices.
In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF said the Saudi economy — which contracted by 0.9 percent last year — would grow by 1.9 percent in 2018, up 0.2 percentage points from its April projections.
This is the third time since October that the organization has raised its growth forecasts for the Kingdom, reflecting soaring oil revenues which make up more than 70 percent of Saudi income.
However, it maintained its Saudi growth projections for 2019 at 1.9 percent on predictions that oil prices would moderate.
Oil prices have more than doubled since early 2016, when major producers struck a deal to cut output.
Last month, they agreed to boost output again to compensate for key supply disruptions in Venezuela and Libya, and in a bid to ease prices that have hit $80 a barrel.
The IMF also slightly increased its growth estimates for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan as a whole to 3.5 percent for this year and 3.9 percent for 2019.
Oil exporters in the region “have benefited from the improved outlook for oil prices, but the outlook for oil importing countries remains fragile,” the IMF said.
“Several economies still face large fiscal consolidation needs and the threat of intensifying geopolitical conflict continues to weigh on growth in the region.”
Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment estimated Saudi Arabia would boost its oil output to 10.3 million barrels per day for 2018, up from 9.9 million bpd for the first six months.
To achieve that, the Kingdom must pump around 10.6 million bpd until the end of 2018.
This will sharply cut Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit to around $30 billion (26 billion euros) from the projected $52 billion, Jadwa said in a report released last week.
Riyadh has posted a budget deficit for the past four consecutive years, borrowing from domestic and international markets and hiking fuel and power prices to finance the shortfall.
It also introduced a five percent value-added tax at the start of 2018.
Since 2014, Saudi budget deficits have totalled $260 billion.


Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

Updated 13 November 2019

Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

  • Organizers promise this year’s line-up of international stars at Diriyah event will be bigger than ever

RIYADH: The first of the major international music acts that will perform at the Diriyah E-Prix this month will be announced on Wednesday.

There were incredible scenes at the event last year when David Guetta, One Republic, the Black Eyed Peas, Amr Diab, Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo rocked the UNESCO World Heritage site. About 40,000 fans flocked to the Diriyah Circuit, on the outskirts of Riyadh, for the after-race concerts, the first unsegregated music events in Saudi Arabia

The stage is set for even bigger and better things this year, with the promise of another two nights of unmissable music on Nov. 22 and 23 as the E-Prix racing returns.

“If you were one of the 40,000 who were lucky enough to be part of that watershed moment (last year) for the Kingdom, believe me, you have not seen anything yet,” said Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Faisal Al-Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority.

“Last year we told people before we announced (the acts) they should get their tickets early to avoid disappointment. Once we revealed who was coming, the tickets sold out incredibly quickly. This year will be the same but even bigger, so for music fans who want to enjoy the biggest concerts in Saudi Arabia, the smart move is to get your ticket now.”

The Diriyah E Prix kicks off the sixth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s premier all-electric motorsport series, with a double header of races. It also marks the start of Diriyah Season, a month of sport, entertainment, art, cultural festivities, food and retail experiences. Tickets for the Diriyah E Prix, which include entry to the after-race concerts, are available at www.diriyahseason.sa.