Saudi nonoil exports advanced 9.2 percent Y/Y in December as returns racked up SR19.9 billion. Stimulated economic activity in China and developed economies created a growth spurt in global demand for input materials, including the Kingdom’s exports of plastics and base metals.
On the other hand, the bill of imports have shown a 6.5 percent shrinkage compared to last year, standing at SR49.2 billion. This monthly development narrows the balance of trade gap by 14.8 percent compared to last annum, according to a report by the National Commercial Bank.
According to the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI), nonoil exports made a record high in the month of December after a period of moderate gains. The steep rise in exports revenue is owed, by weight, to high demand for plastics, and base metals. Plastics, which make up 32.3 percent of the country’s exports surged by 10.1 percent, realizing SR6.4 billion. Chemical products which also weigh a sizable 32.3 percent of exports, however, retracted by 8.7 percent on an annual basis to SR6.4 billion. Exports of base metals which weight as much as 5.2 percent of the monthly total soared by 8.6 percent, amounting SR1 billion. By export destination, China led the pack, attracting SR 3.1 billion worth of exports or 15.6 percent of the monthly total. In comparison to last year, exports to china grew
by 33.5 percent. The UAE was the second largest export destination with SR2.5 billion worth of exports accounting for 12.6% of exports. On a yearly basis, exports to UAE surged by 45.4 percent. Singapore lands third, acquiring as much as 6.9 percent of the Kingdom’s nonoil exports, amounting to SR1.3 billion, a 0.8 percent upturn from last year, the NCB report said.
Imports value has declined across the board. Over a quarter of imports to the Kingdom consist of machinery and electrical equipment. Valued at SR12.6 billion they annually retreated by 13.3 percent. Transport equipment, which by weight occupy as much as 19.4 percent of the monthly total, inched downwards by 2.5 percent Y/Y to SR9.5 billion. Base metals, the third largest import to the Kingdom (11.4 percent of imports) downturned 10.7 percent from a year ago to SR5.6 billion.
According to countries of origin, the US tops the list as the largest source of imports, recording SR6.8 billion or approximately 13.8 percent of the import bill. In comparison to the same month last year, US imports decreased 17.6 percent by value. Chinese imports come second with 12.7 percent of the import bill allocation, amounting to SR6.2 billion.
Year-on-year analysis reveals that imports from China have shrunk 6.4 percent in value terms. Germany is the third largest source of imports, accounting for 6.7 percent of the import bill. Total imports from Germany in December amounted to SR3.3 billion, 10.6 percent short of last year’s figure.
Settled Letters of Credit (LCs) in December totaled SR20.7 billion, a 7.4 percent slump.
All categories, except foodstuff, contributed to this negative downturn, namely motor vehicles, machinery and building materials. Motor vehicles were settled 18.6 percent lower, while machinery and building materials dwindled by 26.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.