Petrochemicals continued to be the country’s most important commodities exported during the month of May.
This was followed by plastics, plastic products, base-metals and re-exported commodities.
During the same month, the total value of Saudi imports also showed an increase of 12% to SR31.778m, compared to SR28.459m in May 2007.
That translated into 3,923 tons of commodities, compared to 3,920 tons a year earlier.
The report by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI) at the Ministry of Economy and Planning added that the UAE topped the list of countries that imported from Saudi Arabia, followed by China and Qatar.
GCC states, however, topped the most important groups of states to which Saudi Arabia exports.
During the period under review, The United States topped the list of countries that export commodities to Saudi Arabia, followed by China, Germany, non-Arab Asian countries and Islamic groups of countries, EU countries and North America.
The report said that products imported from GCC states rose by 18% in May 2008 to reach SR1,576m, compared to SR1,335m a year earlier.
The value for total non-oil national products exported to other GCC states also increased by 34% to SR2.727m compared to SR2.038m.
A study measuring the confidence in Saudi firms by Sabb’s Chief Economist Dr. John Sfakianakis shows that confidence in Saudi firms remains high.
Up to 89% of those who participated in the study expected more growth in the second half of the year.
The study included 537 firms from various sectors.
But despite the current growth witnessed by the kingdom, the performance of these companies was hit by rising costs, which resulted in the general decline of the Sabb index.
The latest studies show that Saudi firms confidence index fell to 100.2 from 105.4.
Up to 54% of the participants expected oil prices to cross $140 per barrel, while in the previous study 67% expected oil prices to reach $105.
None of the participants expected oil prices to fall below $110, against US$90 in the first quarter report.
The financial services sector in Saudi Arabia needs to have new policies including setting up a market for bonds, including government bonds.
Policies should also include opening the stock market to foreign investors, encouraging family firms to turn into public shareholding companies, and enhance co-operation with GCC states to set up new regional financial markets.
Gulf economies will surge 35% this year on an oil price windfall, ING bank has said, drastically raising its average economic growth forecast for the six oil producers from 10% in February.
Top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia should witness nominal GDP growth of 30.8% this year, compared with 6.7% last year.
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