On Sunday, the government’s statistics agency report indicated that Saudi Arabia’s economic growth for the second quarter surpassed 11% year-over-year, led by a booming oil sector.
The biggest economy in the Middle East has benefited from the jump in oil prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has rejected chiefly Western calls to increase production to bring costs down.
Initial “flash” estimates issued by the General Authority of Statistics indicate that growth in the second quarter was 11.8% compared to last year.
According to the agency, this dramatic rise mainly resulted from an increase in oil activity of 23.1%.
Compared to the second quarter of 2021, non-oil economic activity rose by 5.4%, and government services grew by 2.2%, according to the report.
The Ukraine conflict and subsequent increase in crude prices have benefited oil-producing governments such as Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, whose gross domestic product is projected to increase by 7.6 percent in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund.
As the war began, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates emphasized their devotion to the OPEC+ oil alliance, which Riyadh and Moscow oversee, highlighting Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s growing independence from their longtime friend, the United States.
US President Joe Biden, who had threatened to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for human rights violations, visited the kingdom in early July, attracting fire from human rights organizations for shaking hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Oil was discussed during Biden’s meeting with Saudi authorities and the subsequent conference of regional leaders, but no agreements to increase output were reached.
On Wednesday, the OPEC+ group is scheduled to convene.
On Friday, West Texas Intermediate’s benchmark US crude contract climbed by more than five percent to reclaim $100 a barrel.