Saudi non-oil exports fall 18 percent in January

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports fell 18 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago, the kingdom’s economy and planning ministry said Monday.

By (AP)

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Published: Mon 30 Mar 2009, 7:20 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:46 AM

The slump highlights the affect of the global economic downturn on the OPEC powerhouse, which has been trying to diversify its economy away from oil.

Non-oil exports slipped to 7.87 billion riyals, or about $2.1 billion, in January from 9.61 billion riyals in January 2008, the ministry said.

Earlier this month, the head of the Saudi central bank said the rate of growth in the country’s non-oil exports plunged by 50 percent in 2008.

The brunt of those exports are petrochemical products and plastics.

Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth has helped buffer it from the worst of the global meltdown. Even so, some major projects have been delayed or canceled because of the overall investment climate.

The sharp fall in oil prices from their mid-July highs of about $147 per barrel to about $50 currently has also meant the kingdom the Arab world’s largest economy projected to run its first budget deficit since 2002.

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