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Saudi Arabia Makes up 52% of GCC’s Current Account Surplus in 2012


Middle East : 22 February 2013

Source: The Saudi Gazette 2013

JEDDAH – The GCC region has emerged as the 12th largest economy in the world with its nominal gross domestic product, or GDP, reaching a new record high of $1.56 trillion in 2012, up from $1.44 trillion in 2011, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi ( NBAD ) said Tuesday.

In 2013, GCC’s nominal GDP is forecast to rise to $1.61 trillion while UAE’s nominal GDP is projected at $368 billion, NBAD said in its “GCC Economic Developments & Outlook 2013.”

For the first time ever, GCC value of exports reached $1 trillion, up from $932 billion in 2011. This is almost double the 2009 level of $526 billion. UAE value of exports accounted for about a third of the GCC total. Value of oil and related exports rose to a new record high of $692 billion, up from $644 billion in 2011.

GCC is estimated to have registered a trade surplus of $558 billion in 2012 (up from $529 billion in 2011), again a new record. Services account remained in deficit, while workers’ remittances were a record $77 billion culminating in an aggregate current account surplus of $346 billion, equivalent to 22.3 percent of GDP.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 52 percent of the GCC current account surplus with $178.5 billion. UAE current account surplus is estimated at $32 billion (8.8 per cent of GDP) in the same period.

“Non-oil sectors are forecast to grow by a healthy 5.4 per cent year on year in 2013, spearheading overall economic activity given the slowdown in hydrocarbon,” the report said.

GCC is estimated to have registered a trade surplus of $558 billion in 2012, and in 2013, it is forecast to ease to $492 billion, the report said. Saudi Arabia accounted for 47 percent of the GCC economy, while the UAE accounted for 23 percent. Qatar and Kuwait accounted for 12 percent and 11 per cent of the GCC economy, respectively. Oman and Bahrain accounted for about five per cent and two per cent, respectively.

The bank said the real GDP growth of the region slowed from an estimated 7.4 percent in 2011 to 5.3 percent in 2012. Saudi Arabia accounted for about 48 percent of the GCC real GDP growth rate, while the UAE accounted for 25 per cent.

Dr Gyas Gokkent, NBAD ’s group chief economist, said for the first time ever, value of GCC exports reached $1 trillion, up from $932 billion in 2011. This is almost double the 2009 level of $526 billion. The value of UAE exports accounted for about a third of the GCC total, he said.

In 2012, oil production by the GCC region was also at a record level, with crude oil output averaging about 17 million barrels per day. Last year was a record year in many respects. “It was the second consecutive year with the average price of oil above $100 per barrel. The average price of crude oil (Dubai, spot) was the highest ever at $109.1 per barrel and up from $105.5 per barrel in 2011,” said the report.

The value of oil and related exports rose to a new record high of $692 billion, up from $644 billion in 2011.

NBAD said the GCC is estimated to have registered a trade surplus of $558 billion in 2012, up from $529 billion in 2011, again a new record.

Services account remained in deficit, while workers’ remittances were a record $77 billion culminating in an aggregate current account surplus of $346 billion, equivalent to 22.3 per cent of the GDP.

In 2013, GCC trade surplus is forecast to ease to $492 billion, while the current account surplus is estimated at $270 billion (16.8 percent of the GDP). The fiscal surplus is forecast to ease to $171 billion (10.6 percent of the GDP). The UAE is forecast to register surpluses in its current account and budget equivalent to about 8.5 per cent and 6.8 per cent of the GDP, respectively.

“Oil prices at these levels will continue to allow GCC to accumulate international assets and retain their usual role of being capital exporters,” said the report.

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