A Saudi Aramco premises Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly a decade in the third quarter, boosted by higher oil prices, according to preliminary estimates from the government.

Gross domestic product expanded by 6.8 per cent compared to the same quarter of 2020, the General Authority for Statistics said on Tuesday, its fastest pace since 2012, when oil prices averaged $122 a barrel. It grew 5.8 per cent compared to the previous three months.

The oil sector grew 9 per cent year-on-year, while the non-oil economy - the engine of job creation - expanded by 6.2 per cent.

It grew 1.6 per cent from the previous quarter, when non-oil activity performed worse than expected. The economy contracted by 4.1 per cent last year due to a combination of the pandemic and oil market turmoil but has rebounded rapidly as COVID-19 restrictions wind down and global energy demand picks up.