RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s trade surplus experienced an uptick, registering a growth of 27.47 percent to reach $11.66 billion (SR43.73 billion) in September, marking the second consecutive monthly increase, according to a report released by the General Authority for Statistics.
In August, the trade surplus stood at SR34.31 billion, with July and June reporting figures of SR21.8 billion and SR27.21 billion, respectively.
Despite a marginal 0.1 percent decrease compared to August, Saudi Arabia showed resilience in its trade performance for September, with overall merchandise exports amounting to SR103.8 billion.
However, there was a year-on-year decline of 17.1 percent in overall merchandise exports for September, primarily attributed to a reduction in oil exports. This reduction was in alignment with the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to curtail oil output, aiming to maintain market stability.
The value of oil exports in September experienced a corresponding 17.1 percent decline, reaching SR83.1 billion compared to the same period in the previous year.
Despite this decline, the share of oil exports in the total export portfolio increased slightly from 80 percent in September 2022 to 80.1 percent in September 2023.
The GASTAT report further noted that non-oil exports, including re-exports, decreased by 17.2 percent year on year in September to SR20.7 billion.
Chemical and allied products were the most imported merchandise in September 2023, constituting 30.3 percent of total non-oil exports.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s merchandise imports decreased by 2.2 percent in September to SR60.1 billion, compared to the same month of the previous year. Imports also decreased compared to August 2023 by 13.7 percent.
In September, China was Saudi Arabia’s primary merchandise trading partner, with exports to the Asian giant amounting to SR19 billion, or 18.3 percent of the total. Japan and South Korea followed closely with SR11.4 billion and SR10.2 billion of the total exports, respectively.
India, the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and Poland were also featured in the top 10 destinations for Saudi exports.
On the import side, China held the lead, accounting for 20.5 percent or SR12.3 billion in imports in September 2023. It was followed by the US and the UAE, with imports valued at SR5.2 billion and SR4 billion, respectively.
The report added that the Jeddah Islamic Port ranked as the highest entry point for goods into the Kingdom in September, with a value of SR14.5 billion, constituting 24.1 percent of the overall imports.