Saudi Arabia registers past growth and future optimism



The Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Fahd Al-Mubarak has predicted that the Kingdom’s economy will experience comprehensive growth during  2015 and in the coming years, according to Saudi Press Agency reports

The governor was speaking  at a reception to mark publication of the annual SAMA reports for the financial years 2013 and 2014, attended by King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assafand other ministers, along with several senior officials of the Central Bank.

The reports showthe Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) posted a growth of 3.5 percent against the global average of 3.4 percent and a growth rate of 2.7 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, last year, the private sector recorded a growth of 5.6 percent.

The report pointed out that the public funding witnessed the highest-ever spending in its history at around SR1,100 billion, representing 40 percent of the GDP while public debt shrank to 1.6 percent of the GDP.

The balance of payment achieved a surplus for the 16th consecutive year, reaching around SR288 billion in 2014. The general index of cost of living maintained a steady decline from around six percent in 2008 to less than 2.8 percent last year.

The SAMA governor praised  King Salman’s decision to merge the economic and development affairs in a single apex body so as to unify economic decisions and improve efficiency, besides coordinating the visions, strategies and activities of the concerned government agencies to realize integrated and sustainable development.

“Decisions were taken to revamp and reorganize economic sectors with an objective to raise the standard of efficiency and competitiveness as well as supporting best utilization of the economic resources,” Al-Mubarak said.

“The Kingdom’s economic policies focused on certain vital fields, including developing human resources and infrastructure projects, diversifying the base of production, and enhancing the state’s financial reserves with the objective of tackling unexpected developments in the global oil market,” he noted.

Al-Mubarak said the good position of the global oil market over the last few years has produced positive impact on the Kingdom’s public finance sector, resulting in a surge in the volume of actual spending during the last five years to SR4.4 trillion, of which 30 percent was spent on various capital projects.

“However, a fall in prices of oil since the second half of 2014 has become a renewed challenge to the national economy and this necessitated taking measures aimed at ideal exploitation of the available resources to continue development,” Al-Mubarak added.

The central bank chief also highlighted the Kingdom’s global role in maintaining the stability and balance of the oil market in the medium and long run in view of serving the nation’s interests through safeguarding the market and consolidating its relations with its customers worldwide.

The reports highlighted the Kingdom’s monetary and banking developments as well as balance of payment, in addition to the latest developments in the external sector, public finance, oil and non-oil sectors including insurance, finance and capital market.

This article for The Middle East Online . . . was written by Noura Eskender


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