Saudi Arabia economy grew 3.8% boosted by non-oil activities

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DUBAI, June 8 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s economy grew by 3.8% year on year in the first quarter of 2023, the General Authority for Statistics said on Thursday, broadly in line with estimates released last month.

Non-oil activities grew by 5.4% in Q1 while oil activities grew by 1.4% and government service activity was up by 4.9%, official government data showed.

The statistics authority had estimated growth of 3.9% in the first quarter when it released flash estimates in May.

The Saudi economy grew 8.7% last year, as high oil prices boosted revenue and led to the kingdom’s first budget surplus in almost 10 years.

However, oil prices remain muted this year amid an uncertain demand outlook, despite moves by the kingdom which is the world’s top oil exporter to make voluntary production cuts, the latest of which was announced on Sunday.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects growth in Saudi Arabia to slow to 2.1% in 2023, lower than its May forecast, on the back of OPEC+ production cuts announced in April.

In its latest Article IV mission concluding statement, the IMF said that while April’s cuts would reduce overall growth to 2.1%, non-oil growth is expected to remain robust.

Crude petroleum and natural gas contributed 32.7% of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product last year, with petroleum refining making up another 6%.

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