Saudi oil income at all time high

Saudi Arabia is expected to net its highest ever oil export earnings of nearly $335 billion in 2012 because of high crude prices and a slight rise in its production, according to the Gulf Kingdom’s largest bank.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and world’s oil powerhouse, netted a record high income of $317 billion in 2011 after Saudi crude oil prices surged to their highest average of $108 a barrel and the country boosted its crude output by 1.1 million barrels per day to 9.3 million bpd.

Forecasts by National Commercial Bank (NCB) showed the Kingdom’s oil production will edge up to around 9.4 million bpd this year while the price of its crude will slip slightly to $106 a barrel.

Oil prices are projected to remain as high as $100 in 2013 while Saudi Arabia’s crude output will surge to one of its highest levels of 9.7 million bpd, allowing the country to net nearly $330 billion, its second highest oil export revenue.

Because of the slower rise in its crude production, the country’s real GDP growth is expected to slow down to 3.9 per cent in 2012 from 6.8 per cent in 2011.

NCB expected the non-oil sector to lead growth this year as it will expand by around 4.7 per cent while the hydrocarbon sector will rise by 1.8 per cent.

In current prices, GDP will rise by only around 2.4 per cent i8n 2012 after racing by nearly 28 per cent in 2011, according to NBB.

The report showed nominal GDP will climb to a record high of SR2,217.9 billion in 2012 from around SR2,163 billion in 2011.

Turning to the budget, the report projected a massive surplus of around SR320 billion in 2012 compared with a budgeted surplus of SR12 billion.

It attributed the surge in the actual surplus to a sharp rise in the country’s revenue to SR1,092 billion, nearly 55 per cent above the budgeted revenue of SR702 billion. The report also expected actual spending to swell by around 11.7 per cent to nearly SR771 billion.

Saudi Arabia recorded its highest actual fiscal surplus of SR581 billion in 2008 after revenue more than doubled to SR1,100 billion.

By Staff, August 30, 2012