Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports grow by 52% in second quarter of 2021

Total exports increased to $63.62bn, with China being the main destination

A View shows the port and the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia taken on November 30, 2008. (Salah Malkawi/ The National)
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Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rose 52 per cent during the second quarter amid signs of a rebound in international trade and as the kingdom's economy continues to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The total value of exports for the three-month period to the end of June increased to 238.6 billion Saudi riyals ($63.62bn), the Saudi Press Agency said on Monday, citing a new report from the kingdom's General Authority for Statistics.

Oil exports rose 126 per cent while overall merchandise exports from Saudi Arabia increased almost 100 per cent, according to the latest data.

Saudi Arabia's swift response to curb the spread of Covid-19 has helped it to recover from the pandemic-induced slowdown. The Arab world’s largest economy is now expected to grow 2.4 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The kingdom's economy grew an annual 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, according to the latest flash data released by the government earlier this month.

China remained the main trading partner of Saudi Arabia, with exports amounting to 46.4bn riyals during the period. India and Japan followed, with 21.7bn riyals and 20.7bn riyals respectively, while South Korea, the US, UAE, Egypt, Netherlands, Singapore and Taiwan ranked in the top 10 destinations for its exports.

Total imports in the second quarter increased 13 per cent year-on-year to 140.9bn riyals due to higher imports in segments such as vehicles and associated transport equipment, pearls, precious stones and imitation jewellery, the report said.

Imports from China amounted to 25.7bn riyals. The UAE and the US followed, with imports of 13.5bn riyals and 13.1bn riyals respectively.

About 26 per cent of the total imports entered the kingdom through Jeddah Islamic Port. Among the other major ports of entry for imports were King Abdulaziz Port, King Khalid International Airport, King Fahad Airport and Bat'ha, the report said.

Saudi Arabia’s oil gross domestic product is expected to rebound in the second half of the year as “crude oil production is set to show large yearly rises”, Jadwa Investment said. The recovery is in line with the Opec+ group of oil exporters' agreement to raise overall output by 400,000 barrels a day per month from August to December.

“Higher Saudi oil output and continued growth in the petroleum refining sector will mean better performance for oil GDP in H2, year-on-year, but this will not be enough to push overall growth into the positive territory for 2021 as a whole,” Jadwa said.

Updated: August 30, 2021, 10:18 AM