Saudi trade – GASTAT reports growth in non-oil exports while oil exports decline, impacting the overall trade balance.
The Saudi trade balance continues its positive trajectory with a surplus of USD 7.7 billion in May, maintaining a streak of 36 consecutive months of surplus, according to General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT). While merchandise exports declined to USD 25.8 billion, compared to imports worth USD 18.1 billion, non-oil exports, including re-exports, showcased a promising 23.9 percent increase from the previous month.
Non-oil exports surge, mitigating overall decline
Non-oil exports, including re-exports, registered a notable 23.9 percent surge compared to April 2023, showcasing resilience amidst the economic landscape. This growth is a key driver that contributed to the overall trade balance surplus of USD 7.7 billion, offsetting the decline in merchandise exports.
Decline in oil exports impacts total exports
The International Trade in Services survey for May 2023 revealed a significant 32.1 percent decline in merchandise exports compared to the same period in 2022, totaling USD 25.8 billion from USD 38.1 billion. This decrease is primarily attributed to the 37.7 percent drop in oil exports, which reached USD 19.2 billion, compared to USD 30.8 billion in May last year. Consequently, the share of oil in total exports for May reduced to 74.1 percent, from 80.8 percent in the corresponding month of 2022.
Non-oil trade sees varied performance
Non-oil exports in May experienced an 8.7 percent year-on-year decline, amounting to USD 6.6 billion. Additionally, non-oil trade, excluding re-exports, witnessed a drop of 19.2 percent. However, compared to April 2023, merchandise exports decreased by 6.7 percent, totaling USD 1.8 billion.
GASTAT data reveals an overall increase in the Kingdom’s merchandise imports, rising by 20.9 percent to USD 18 billion in May compared to the same period in 2022, when imports were valued at USD 14.9 billion. Furthermore, Saudi imports in May saw a USD 2.6 billion or 16.9 percent increase compared to April 2023.
The continuous surplus in the Saudi trade balance showcases the resilience of the Kingdom’s economy amidst global challenges. As non-oil exports demonstrate growth potential, the country remains committed to enhancing its trade ecosystem and exploring new avenues for economic diversification.
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