Saudi Arabia`s economy recovered in 2021 after a difficult year with the restrictions of the pandemic as national, regional and international vaccination campaigns were rolled out and had an effect also driving export of oil.
The first quarter of 2021 witnessed Saudi Arabia’s export value and volume increase for the third consecutive quarter and reaching the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2019 according to official data published by the government.
The second quarter of 2021 enjoyed a substantial easing of unemployment as the rate among nationals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fell to 11.3 percent. The decrease can be attributed to ongoing efforts of the government to boost the employment of nationals in the private sector.
The exports grew by an annual rate of 123 percent according to the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT). It was the highest annual growth rates since 2018. In June, the value of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports increased by 123 percent to SAR 61.5 billion (USD 16.4 billion) year on year.
The highlights in the third quarter of 2021 were a budget surplus and falling inflation which saw oil export values hit SAR 206.6 billion (USD 55.1 billion) as the sector enjoyed rising demand and higher prices. It led Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to jump by 7 percent to the highest level since 2012.
The Ministry of Finance recorded the first quarterly budget surplus of SAR 6.7 billion (USD 1.8 billion) since the first quarter of 2019. The improvement was driven by high oil prices and government’s social spending cuts. Conversely, Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate hit the lowest level in 20 months reaching 0.3 percent in August. Furthermore, the private sector experienced the strongest growth in September since 2015, according to IHS Markit, driven by new orders as consumers returned following the easing of the restrictions related to the pandemic.
The fourth quarter of 2021 saw a continuation of the increase in the production of oil as the exports hit their highest levels since April 2020 in October.
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