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Saudi Arabia’s trade surplus reaches $12 billion, reports GASTAT

In September, overall merchandise exports experienced a 17.1% drop, mainly due to a decline in oil exports.

Saudi Arabia’s trade surplus reaches $12 billion, reports GASTAT
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Saudi Arabia is a key player in international trade because of its strategic location and abundant resources. Recent data from the General Authority for Statistics reveals a 27% increase in the trade surplus, reaching $11.66 billion in September – the second consecutive month of growth.

In August, the trade surplus was $9.1 billion, and figures for July and June stood at $5.8 billion and $7.3 billion. Despite a slight 0.1% dip from August, September highlighted Saudi Arabia’s strong trade performance, with total merchandise exports reaching SR 103.8 billion.

However, a noteworthy year-on-year decline of 17.1% in overall merchandise exports for September was observed, mainly attributed to reduced oil exports. The value of oil exports in September dropped by 17.1% to $22.2 billion compared to the same period last year. Despite this decrease, the share of oil exports in the overall export mix increased slightly from 80% in September 2022 to 80.1% in September 2023.

The report noted a 17.2% year-on-year decrease in non-oil exports, totaling $5.5 billion in September. Chemical and allied products led non-oil exports, comprising 30.3% in September 2023. On imports, Saudi Arabia’s merchandise imports decreased by 2.2% to $60.1 billion in September compared to the same period last year, with a 13.7% decline from August this year.

In September, China stood out as Saudi Arabia’s top merchandise trading partner, with exports totaling $5 billion, representing 18.3%. Japan and South Korea closely followed, contributing $3 billion and $2.7 billion to the export tally. The top 10 destinations for Saudi exports included India, the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and Poland.

In September, China led Saudi Arabia’s imports, comprising 20.5% or $3.3 billion, followed by the US ($1.4 billion) and the UAE ($1 billion). The report emphasized Jeddah Islamic Port as the primary entry point, representing $3.9 billion or 24.1% of total imports in September.

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