Praising the faster expansion of the non-oil sector, International Monetary Funds (IMF) announces on Monday that the estimates of Saudi Arabia’s economic growth for this year, 2019, may be higher than the previous forecast of 1.8% due to the fact that the non-oil sector is expanding faster than the broader economy.
It’s noteworthy that the IMF had cut, in an interim report released earlier in January, its growth forecast for Saudi Arabia from 2.4% to 1.8%. While Jihad Azour, the Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF states to Reuters saying: “we expect that the non-oil growth to reach 2.6% this year and 2.9% in 2020. Based on the IMF team’s previous estimate, we believe that there is a possibility of a slight rise exceeding our previous forecast.”
- The futures of the global benchmark Brent crude at the settlement reached 72.15 dollars a barrel, down 2.20 dollars on Friday.
“The budget deficit of Saudi Arabia may reach 7.9% this year, higher than it in 2018 assuming oil prices will be in 2019 lower than last year, within $65 a barrel, yet we expect that this deficit will decrease to 5.7% in 2020” Azour also added that “there’s now a team of IMF in Saudi Arabia and revised economic figures are expected next week.”
Saudi Arabia’s economy grew by 2.2% last year, recovering from an economic contraction in 2017. Saudi Arabia estimated the budget deficit at 4.6% of GDP in 2018 and expects it to reach 4.2% this year. The Kingdom also recorded a budget surplus of $7.4bn (SAR27.8bn) for the first quarter of 2019, to be the first surplus since the collapse of oil prices in 2014, according to the Saudi finance minister, Muhammad Al-Jadaan.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) governor Ahmad Al-Khulaifi earlier said that “The Saudi economy will grow by at least 2% by 2019.”