Saudi Arabia economy grew 7.1 pct in 2011: IMF

Ahram Online, Wednesday 30 May 2012

Kingdom's solid growth has resulted in a 'positive spillover' that has benefited other economies in the region in terms of aid and remittances, claims global body

Saudi oil
Saudi production helped quell rising global oil prices, says IMF (Photo: AP)

Saudi Arabia's economy has performed exceptionally well in the last year, giving vital support to the rest of the world by stabilising soaring oil prices, the IMF said on Tuesday.

The IMF estimated the Kingdom's real GDP growth at 7.1 per cent in 2011, with an 8 per cent rise in the non-oil sector -- its highest such climb since 1981 -- and private sector growth of 8.5 per cent. 
The outlook remains buoyant, it said, predicting 2012 growth of 6 per cent.
The International Monetary Fund published its findings after the conclusion of an annual Article IV Consultation mission to the country's capital, Riyadh.
A statement from the body's director for the Middle East and Central Asia, Masood Ahmed, stressed the regional influence of Saudi's economy.
A growth of imports and increases in workers' remittances had, Ahmed said, combined with expanded financial assistance to neighbouring countries "have exerted a positive spillover" that had "helped support other economies in the region and beyond."
Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister said last week that the OPEC country was in the process of finalising a $2.7-billion aid package for Egypt. 
Ahmed said the Saudi private sector is likely to lead the economy in the coming months, representing a clear break from the past.
Inflation will likely remain modest at around 5 per cent in 2012, while fiscal and external surpluses are expected to remain strong at almost 17 and 27 per cent of GDP, respectively. 
But Ahmed added that regional instability and the possibility of its spillover to global oil markets meant Saudi's future was still subject to a level of uncertainty.
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