Ratings agency Fitch has upgraded its outlook for Saudi Arabia to positive from stable as the kingdom’s programme to employ nationals in the private sector takes off.

Saudi Arabia’s rating was maintained at ‘AA-‘, but Fitch said it could be upgraded if the country made more progress on diversifying the economy and reducing unemployment.  

Employment of nationals in the private sector jumped 60 per cent between May 2011 and February 2013 in response to labour market reforms, Fitch said.