IMF revises Saudi growth forecast upwards

20 October 2020
Economic growth in the kingdom for 2020 is now expected to be -5.4 per cent

The Washington-based IMF has made an upward revision to its projection for GDP growth in Saudi Arabia this year.

In its World Economic Outlook report issued on 7 October, the fund said it expects GDP growth in Saudi Arabia this year to be -5.4 per cent, an improvement on the -6.8 per cent forecast made in the World Economic Outlook report issued in July.

The forecast for GDP growth in 2021 remains unchanged with growth of 3.1 per cent expected.

“We have revised upward our revisions in October, compared to July. And we expect that gross will be negative this year by 5.4 per cent for Saudi, with a recovery next year, where we expect gross to be – in 2021 – at 3.1 per cent," said Jihad Azour, director, Middle East and Central Asia department, IMF, during an online briefing on 19 October.

"Of course, this outlook will depend on the evolution of the oil price, oil demand and the potential extension of the Opec+ agreement,” he added.

The IMF predicts negative growth for oil exporters across the region this year.

“For oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan region, growth is now projected at minus 6.6 per cent in 2020 – reflecting the combined impact of the decline in oil prices and production cuts, and the lockdowns,” said Azour.

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MEED's latest Saudi Arabia special report includes:

> GovernmentSaudi foreign policy in a changing world
> EconomyRiyadh faces sharply deepened fiscal deficit
> BankingSaudi lenders hold their nerve
> Upstream: Saudi upstream copes with megaproject delays
> DownstreamAramco to optimise downstream business
> Power & WaterUtilities project awards slow down
> Construction: Saudi construction performs consistently despite pandemic
> PPP: Riyadh refocuses PPP plans
> TransportSaudi Arabia's transport vision grows
> Databank: Government sharply raises its debt in 2020


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