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SAMA highlights Saudi economic growth

Riyadh, 27th November 2001-- The Saudi economy continued its march forward during fiscal year 1420/21 (2000), benefiting from the rise in world oil prices.

The Kingdom's oil revenue increased sharply during the year which led to achieving the first budgetary surplus since 1982 and a remarkable surplus in the balance of payments for the second consecutive year.

This was disclosed in the 37th annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, which was presented here last night to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques , King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz by Finance and National Economy Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Assaf.

The general price level remained stable thanks to the monetary policy pursued to this end.

The private sector made further progress, reflecting the continuous diversity of its productive base and its reduced reliance on government expenditure.

The report said the banking sector continued to perform well reflecting the success of SAMA 's measures to promote its efficiency, soundness and capital adequacy, with the ultimate objective of raising its performance level to meet international standards consistently.

A number of new administrative regulations were also introduced during the year by the Government to give effect to several structural reforms made in the Saudi economy .

It is hoped that the Saudi economy would continue its growth during the current year 2001 in spite of unfavorable circumstances witnessed by the world economy .

The report said the Kingdoms Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.5 percent and 21.7 percent in current prices. This was largely due to stupendous growth both in the oil and non-oil sectors. The oil sector grew 8.5 percent, while the non-oil sector recorded a 2.6 percent growth, the report said.

It said the actual public revenues rose by 74.9 percent last year to SR 258.1 billion while expenditures rose by 28 percent to SR235.3 billion.

This brought the surplus to SR22.7 billion, which is 3.6 percent of the GDP, the report said. The Kingdom recorded a deficit of SR36.3 billion the previous year.

The report said the minerals sector had registered a growth rate of 9.6 percent. The SAMA predicted similar growth rate for this fiscal year.

According to the report, the industrial sector grew by 3.2 percent, the construction sector 3.5 percent, commercial service sector three percent, and finance and business sector 2.5 percent.

The report stated that the monetary and banking sectors achieved a growth of 4.5 percent as bank deposits rose by 7.1 percent and loans and advances to the private sector by 6.2 percent.

The SAMA report said the Kingdom also achieved surplus in balance of payments for the second consecutive year. The GDP grew by 21.7 percent last year in current prices, compared to 11.5 percent the previous year, the report said.

The report also highlighted the development and progress of the stock market, commerce, industry and electricity , roads and telephone lines, human resources and social services .

It said the market capitalization of shares rose by 11.4 per cent, from SR 229 billion in 1999 to SR 255 billion in 2000. The number of shares traded went up by 5.1 per cent from 528 million in 1999 to 555 million in 2000.

Commerce, industry and electricity sectors continued their growth and development during 2000.

The number of new companies registered by the Ministry of Commerce during 2000 was 554, with a total capital of SR 6.2 billion.

The number of industrial units operating in the Kingdom went up to reach 3,381, with a total capital of SR 293.3 billion and more than 315,000 workers.


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