The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed the continued strong performance of the Saudi Arabian economy and the systematic and stabilizing role that the country plays in the global oil market.
Its executive directors also acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s role as an important source of financial assistance and remittances for many developing countries.
They, however, stated that implementation of labor market policies to boost Saudi employment should be carefully coordinated with macroeconomic policies.
They said considerable progress had been made in improving economic statistics but saw scope for further improvement.
The statement came after the executive board of the IMF concluded the Article IV consultation with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the best performing G20 economies in recent years, and has supported the global economy through its stabilizing role in the global oil market. It has also provided generous financial support to countries in the Middle East region.
The Saudi population is young and increasingly well-educated, and as it continues to enter into its working-age years, there is a tremendous opportunity to boost growth and raise living standards further.
IMF said Saudi economy grew by 5.1 percent in 2012, benefitting from high oil prices and output, strong private sector growth, and government spending. Inflation has risen over the past year to 3.8 percent in May 2013, driven by higher food prices and housing costs.
High oil prices and production led to large fiscal and current account surpluses, and international reserves rose further.
Looking ahead, growth is projected to slow to 4 percent in 2013.
Reproduced with permission from Arab News