Saudi income to break new record in 2012

Rise will boost Kingdom’s foreign assets by nearly $79 bn

Saudi Arabia earned a record high oil income of around $317 billion in 2011 and the earnings are projected to break a new record in 2012 because of high oil prices and output, according to local estimates.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the world’s dominant oil exporter, pumped at one of its highest crude output levels of around 9.3 million barrels per day in 2011 and production could average at an all time high of 9.9 million bpd in 2012, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investments said in a study.

The price of Saudi Arabia’s crude is also projected to climb to its highest average of $107 this year after breaking a record of $103 in 2011, the report showed.

Higher output and prices are forecast to lift the Gulf Kingdom’s oil export revenue to an all time high of nearly $322 billion in 2012, the report said, adding that the income could slip back to nearly $293 billion in 2013.

The report said the surge in revenue would sharply widen the country’s budgeted surplus of SR12 billion to a whopping SR348 billion in 2012, the second largest fiscal surplus after the record SR581 billion recorded in 2008.

Strong oil prices and higher production will also boost Saudi Arabia’s foreign assets to an all time high of around $700.3 billion at the end of 2012 from nearly $621.5 billion at the end of 2011, an increase of about $79 billion.

Jadwa upgraded its previous forecasts for Saudi Arabia’s real GDP growth from 5.3 to 5.8 per cent this year but expected growth to fall back to 3.8 per cent in 2013. The 2012 growth will be slightly lower than the 2011 6.8 per cent growth.

A breakdown showed the government sector would grow by around five pent while growth is forecast at nearly 6.1 per cent in the oil sector and in the non-hydrocarbon private sector.

GDP in current prices will likely rise by around 12.7 per cent to SR2.43 trillion in 2012 from SR2.16 trillion in 2011. Growth this year will be sharply below that in 2011, when nominal GDP shot up by 28 per cent.

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