Saudi GDP to grow 7.5% in 2011: AMF

 High oil prices and production will boost Saudi Arabia’s real economy by nearly 7.5 per cent in 2011, one of the highest real growth rates in the history of the world’s dominant oil exporter, according to official forecasts.
The estimates by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), a key Arab League financial establishment, are higher than the 6.5-per cent projection by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and above all local forecasts.
“Estimates show that the Saudi Arabian real GDP will grow by around 7.5 per cent this year against a growth rate of 4.1 per cent in 2010,” the AMF said in its second quarter report on the Arab economies and bourses.
In its economic outlook for the Middle East released last week, the Washington-based IMF forecast the Saudi GDP would grow by 6.5 per cent before growth eases to nearly 3.6 per cent in 2012.
The Saudi American Bank group (SAMBA), in its August report, projected real GDP growth at 6.6 per cent while estimates by the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment showed the Gulf kingdom’s real GDP would swell by about 6.9 per cent and 2.8 per cent in 2012.
At 7.5 per cent, growth in Saudi Arabia’s economy, the largest in the Middle East, would be one of the highest rates in the country’s history and more than 37 times the growth of 0.2 per cent recorded in 2009.
Saudi Arabia’s GDP grew by around 4.2 per cent in 2008, two per cent in 2007, nearly 3.2 per cent in 2006, 5.6 per cent in 2005 and 5.3 per cent in 2004.
Jadwa said real GDP growth this year would be driven by a surge of nearly 14.2 per cent in Saudi Arabia’s oil sector as a result of a sharp rise in prices and an expected increase of nearly one million bpd in its crude output.
The report showed the government sector would grow by around five per cent while the non-oil private sector would expand by nearly 3.8 per cent.
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