Saudi Arabia’s real GDP grew by 6.8% in 2012, with private sector GDP up by 7.5%, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Fahd bin ‘Abd Allah al-Mubarak, has said. Speaking at the launch of SAMA’s 48th Annual Report, Dr Mubarak declined to give a forecast for Saudi economic growth and said that SAMA will take guidance from the IMF predictions of 4.2% in 2013 and 3.8% in 2014.

The governor noted that in 2012 the kingdom achieved an actual budget surplus of SR386bn ($103bn) and said that the public debt fell to below SR100bn ($27bn), representing less than 4% of GDP. The kingdom also realized the highest ever balance of payments surplus of SR670bn ($179bn). The inflation rate fell to 4.6% in 2012 from 5% in 2011, with the main component of inflation being rents and the cost of food. He stressed that the “current inflation is tolerable, when compared to other emerging markets.” (CONTINUED - 288 WORDS)