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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Assets to Reach $705b in ‘12

Middle East : 25 March 2012

Source: The Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabia’s real GDP is projected to record strong growth this year despite an expected drop in nominal GDP amid foreseen fall in oil prices, Jadwa Investment said in a study.

The report forecast that the Kingdom’s foreign assets would soar to an all time high of around $705 billion at the end 2012 from $634.8 billion at the end of 2011. It forecast them to post another record high of $738 billion at the end of 2013.

SAMA’s net foreign assets rose to SR2.082 trillion in February, from SR2.035 trillion in January, and SR1.666 trillion in February 2011.

The decline will depress nominal GDP to around $568 billion through 2012 from nearly $575 billion in 2011, it said, noting that lower prices will likely depress its crude export earnings to $244 billion in 2012 from a record high of about $302 billion in 2011, the report said.

It will also push down the current account surplus to nearly $97 billion from $159 billion in the same period, the report added.

The Kingdom’s economy gained $126 billion in 2011 because of a surge in oil prices and an increase of 1.1 million barrels per day in crude output. Oil prices averaged an all time high of around $105 a barrel in 2011 but are projected to dip to nearly $92 in 2012, Jadwa said in the report.

However, a projected expansion in the non-oil private and government sectors will offset the slow growth in the hydrocarbon sector to boost real GDP growth to 4.5 percent in 2012, the report said. The government sector will expand by 6.7 percent and the non-oil private sector by 5.1 percent, it added.
The oil sector will grow 1.7 percent after rising by 4.3 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s money supply grew 13.8 percent on year in February, compared with 13.6 percent in January, while the central bank’s foreign assets surged 24.9 percent compared with February 2011, data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency showed Saturday.

M3 was SR1.248 trillion ($332.9 billion) in February, up from SR1.097 trillion last year and higher than the SR1.235 trillion in January, SAMA’s website said.

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