RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded a trade surplus of SR99.86 billion ($26.62 billion) in the third quarter of 2023, with merchandise exports growing by 2 percent compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest data released by the General Authority of Statistics.
The Kingdom’s merchandise exports reached SR299.81 billion during this period, with a 1 percent growth primarily driven by increased shipments of mineral products, accounting for 77 percent of total merchandise exports in the three months to the end of September.
Non-oil exports, including re-exports, increased to SR68.68 billion from SR67.16 billion in the previous quarter. Chemicals, metal products, plastics, as well as rubber, mechanical, and transport equipment, comprised 85 percent of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports.
In this period, Saudi imports increased by 4 percent, reaching SR199.95 billion, with machinery, mechanical and electrical appliances, along with transport equipment, accounting for over 40 percent of the total.
Trade volume in the Kingdom, encompassing the total of exports and imports, saw a 3 percent increase during this period. This marks the first positive quarterly growth in a year, totaling SR499.76 billion.
China maintained its position as the leading trading partner for both exports and imports, contributing to a trade surplus of SR8.49 billion with Saudi Arabia during this period.
About 85 percent of Saudi Arabia’s exports to China comprise oil, while non-oil shipments make up 16 percent, consisting mainly of chemical products, plastics, and rubber.
The UAE continued to be the primary non-oil export destination, with these products totaling SR12.92 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s primary non-oil exports to the UAE included mechanical and electrical equipment, along with transport equipment and parts, constituting 55 percent of non-oil shipments.
China and India followed with non-oil export values of SR7.69 billion and SR6.26 billion, respectively.
Conversely, Saudi Arabia’s imports from China reached SR40.55 billion in the third quarter of this year, with the US following at SR17.87 billion and the UAE at SR12.05 billion.
Imports from the US witnessed an 11.6 percent increase during this period, leading to a negative trade balance of SR4.27 billion with this country. This is attributed to a 30 percent rise in imports of mechanical and electrical products, as well as transport equipment, totaling SR10.24 billion.
Saudi Arabia also saw an 8.4 percent increase in imports from the UAE during this period, amounting to SR12.05 billion. This resulted in a 9 percent reduction in the trade surplus with this country.
Saudi Arabia achieved a non-oil trade surplus with Gulf Cooperation Council countries during this quarter, amounting to SR947 million.
This increase of 115 percent compared to the same quarter last year is primarily attributed to the significant growth in the trade balance with the UAE, which surged by 142 percent.