Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy, the engine of job creation, grew at the fastest pace in more than a year and helped the kingdom record the fastest overall growth among major global economies.
Its non-oil economy grew an annual 6.2 per cent during the fourth quarter of last year, the highest level since the third quarter of 2021, flash estimates from the General Authority for Statistics showed Tuesday. The oil sector grew 6.1 per cent during the same period, thanks to high global crude prices.
Overall the economy grew an estimated 8.7 per cent last year, the Saudi estimates showed. That’s on par with estimates from the International Monetary Fund, which also show the kingdom recording the fastest economic growth among the world’s top economies, followed by India at 6.8 per cent.
Last year, Saudi officials announced a spending boost that will sharply narrow this year’s budget surplus. The major oil producer said it was looking to tackle the impact of inflation and use its oil windfall to accelerate the development of economic diversification projects.
Saudi Arabia will use the surplus to replenish its reserves, make additional transfers to sovereign wealth funds, and potentially boost spending on projects intended to help diversify the economy away from a reliance on crude sales, officials have said.