GCC supplied over 23% of Saudi 2011 imports

Saudi Arabia’s five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) emerged among the largest exporters to the Gulf Kingdom in 2011, accounting for more than 23 per cent of its total imports of goods through letters of credit (LCs), a Saudi bank said on Tuesday.

Exports by the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman to Saudi Arabia totalled about SR36.9 billion last year, nearly 23.1 per cent of the Kingdom’s total LC goods imports, National Commercial Bank (NCB) said in its weekly report.

It said last year’s exports by GCC states were up from nearly 18.5 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total LC imports in 2010.

Settled LCs for North America and Western Europe goods have increased by 79.2% and 21.5%, respectively last year, the report said.

Growing to be one of the most powerful economies globally, Settled LCs for China gained by a substantial 32.2% Y/Y, it added.

As for Arab countries other than GCC, they have been struggling with political uprisings, as such, their LCs have dropped to SAR5.2 bn in 2011, a 56.4% decline from their 2008 levels, according to NCB.

The report noted that being the largest economy in the GCC and a heavily reliant economy on oil exports, Saudi’s goods imports are a key indicator for consumer spending. It cited the latest monetary announcement from SAMA showing that newly opened LCs have reached almost SAR46.3 bn in 4Q11, an impressive 13.3% over the same quarter of 2010.

The increase was mainly attributed to Machinery and Other Goods category which gained by 35.9% and 32.8%, respectively, on an annual basis. Additionally, livestock and meat picked up by 11.1% as the festive of Ramadan and Hajj boosted demand.

“Saudi’s robust economy will continue to boost demand this year as elevated oil prices will translate to more business opportunities.”

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