Strong oil prices allied with a sharp rise in crude output to bolster Saudi Arabia’s nominal GDP by a whopping $129 billion in 2011 while its assets and current account surplus recorded massive increases.
Figures by a key Saudi bank showed the nominal GDP of the largest Arab economy could slip in 2012 because of an expected fall in crude prices and the country’s production before it leaps again in 2013.
From around $447.8 billion in 2010, its GDP in current prices rocketed by about 28.8 per cent to $576.9 billion in 2012, an increase of 129.1 billion, showed the figures by the Saudi American Bank Group (SAMBA).
Most of the growth was in the oil sector, which jumped by 53.3 per cent as a result of higher crude prices and output by the world’s oil basin.
The report showed Saudi Arabia, sitting atop over a fifth of the world’s recoverable oil deposits, boosted its crude supplies by a staggering one million bpd to 9.2 million bpd in 2011 from an average 8.2 million bpd in 2010 as it had to lift production to offset disruptions in conflict-battered Libya.
Oil prices also soared to a record high average of around $111 per barrel of Brent last year compared with $78 in 2010.
Higher crude prices and output also boosted Saudi Arabia’s real GDP growth by 6.8 per cent, its highest rate since 2003.
The report showed the Kingdom basked in one of its highest current account surpluses of around $156 billion last year compared with $69 billion in 2010, an increase of nearly $87 billion.
Its net foreign assets, controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), also leaped by nearly $94 billion to their highest level of $560 billion at the end of 2011 $466 billion at the end of 2010. The report expected them to continue their climb to reach $682 billion at the end of 2012 and nearly $779.9 billion at the end of 2013 against an oil price of $100.
In contrast, nominal GDP will likely slip by around 0.7 per cent to $573 billon in 2012 before rebounding by 5.9 per cent to $607 billion in 2013. Real GDP growth is projected to fall back to 3.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent in 2012-2013.
The report showed the surge in nominal GDP boosted Saudi Arabia’s per capita income to around $20,244 in 2011 from $15,246 in 2010 and expected it to edge down to $19,449 in 2012 before recovering to $19,923 in 2013.
It put the country’s population at 28.5 million at the end of 2011 compared with 27.6 million at the end of 2010. The number is projected to swell to 29.5 million at the end of 2012 and around 30.5 million at the end of 2013.