Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz received from Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf and SAMA Governor Hamad Al-Sayyari last night, the 37th annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA). Governor Al-Sayyari also presented to King Fahd a gold medallion marking the 20th anniversary of his accession to the throne, and delivered a speech in which he reported on the Saudi economy, praised the developments in foreign investment in the oil and gas sector, and reviewed King Fahd's achievements in the twenty years of his reign.
The 37th SAMA report shows that during FY 2000 (1420/21) the Saudi economy continued its progress, benefiting from the rise in global oil prices. The Kingdom's oil revenues increased sharply during the year, resulting in the achievement of the first budget surplus since 1982 and a remarkable surplus in the balance of payments for the second consecutive year. General cost of living figures remained stable thanks to the monetary policy pursued to this end. The private sector made further progress, reflecting the continuing diversity of its productive base and its reduced reliance on government expenditure.
The banking sector continued to perform well, reflecting the success of SAMA's measures to promote its efficiency, soundness and capital adequacy, with the ultimate objective of raising its performance level in continuous consistency with international standards. Several new administrative regulations were introduced during the year to give effect to a number of structural reforms made in the Saudi economy, which is anticipated to continue its growth during the current FY 2001 (1421/22) in spite of unfavorable circumstances witnessed by the global economy.
In FY 2000 the Kingdom's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.5 percent (21.7 percent in current prices). This was largely due to extraordinary growth in both the oil and the non-oil sectors, the former growing by 8.5 percent, while the latter recorded a 2.6 percent growth. Actual public revenues rose by 74.9 percent to SR 258.1 billion [U.S. $ 68.83 billion] while expenditures rose by 28 percent to SR 235.3 billion [$ 62.75 billion], bringing the surplus to SR 22.7 billion [$ 6.05], corresponding to 3.6 percent of the GDP. The previous year had shown a deficit of SR 36.3 billion [$ 9.69 billion].
The minerals sector registered a growth rate of 9.6 percent, and SAMA predicted a similar growth rate for the current fiscal year. The industrial sector grew by 3.2 percent, the construction sector by 3.5 percent, the commercial services sector by 3.0 percent, and the finance and business sector by 2.5 percent. The monetary and banking sectors achieved a growth of 4.5 percent, with bank deposits rising by 7.1 percent and loans and advances to the private sector by 6.2 percent. The Kingdom achieved a surplus in the balance of payments for the second consecutive year. The GDP grew by 21.7 percent last year in current prices, as compared to 11.5 percent the previous year.
The report also highlighted the development and progress of the stock market, commerce, industry and electricity, roads and telephone lines, human resources and social services. Market capitalization of shares rose by 11.4 percent, from SR 229 billion [$ 61.07 billion] in 1999 to SR 255 billion [$ 68.0 billion] in 2000. The number of shares traded went up by 5.1 percent from 528 million in 1999 to 555 million in 2000. The commerce, industry and electricity sectors continued their growth and development during 2000. The number of new companies registered by the Ministry of Commerce during 2000 was 554, with a total capital of SR 6.2 billion [$ 1.65 billion]. The number of operating companies stood at 493,000 at the end of 2000, including 3,381 industrial plants with a total capital of SR 293.3 billion [$ 78.21 billion] and over 315,000 workers.