Saudi Arabia was fastest growing G20 economy in 2022, OECD says

World's biggest economies slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of last year, with GDP decelerating to 0.3% in the last three months of 2022, from 1.4% in the previous quarter

The Riyadh skyline. The kingdom's economy was supported by higher oil prices and strong non-oil growth in 2022. Bloomberg
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Saudi Arabia had the highest annual growth rate among the world's 20 biggest economies in 2022, according to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Arab world's largest economy expanded 8.7 per cent last year on higher oil prices and the strong performance of its non-oil private sector.

Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, gained about 10 per cent in 2022, after jumping 50 per cent in 2021.

Despite the oil price volatility last year, which was exacerbated by the Ukraine war that disrupted global supplies, this was the second annual gain for the crude market.

The kingdom was followed by the economies of India, which grew 6.7 per cent, Turkey, which accelerated 5.6 per cent, and Indonesia, which expanded 5.3 per cent, the OECD said on Wednesday.

Japan, the world's third largest economy, recorded the lowest growth rate, with its gross domestic product rising by 1 per cent.

Provisional estimates indicate G20 economies grew by an average of 3.2 per cent in 2022, compared with 6.3 per cent in 2021 when economies were recovering from the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Paris-based organisation said.

The world's biggest economies slowed “sharply” in the fourth quarter of last year, with GDP decelerating to 0.3 per cent in the last three months of 2022, from 1.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

The downturn in the G20 area in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the previous volatility in 2022 was due to trends in China, the world's second-largest economy, which accounted for about a quarter of the group's total GDP, the OECD said.

Growth in China's fell to zero in the last three months of 2022, from 3.9 per cent in third quarter, owing to the easing of pandemic restrictions and a subsequent surge in infections that affected various sectors of the economy, the organisation said.

GDP growth slowed or turned negative in most G20 countries in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In South Africa, Africa's second-biggest economy, GDP contracted by 1.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, after growing 1.8 per cent in the previous three months.

Germany and South Korea's economies each contracted by 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, while Brazil and Italy's GDP shrunk by 0.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

In contrast, Indonesia recorded GDP growth of 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter while Saudi Arabia expanded 1.3 per cent in the period. Turkey's GDP grew 0.9 per cent after a slight contraction in the third quarter of 2022.

The euro area, Canada, Japan and the UK recorded flat growth in the fourth quarter.

Updated: March 15, 2023, 11:00 AM