Saudi: Major 2017 Oil Revenue Gains, But Non-Oil Disappoints

Saudi Arabia strengthened its trade balance in 2017 with its surplus more than doubling to $95bn. Healthier oil prices more than offset lower export volumes, boosting export revenues, but the government’s efforts to invigorate the non-oil sector continue to fall flat.

Saudi Arabia has been the driving force behind the Opec+ production cuts that have been in force since January 2017. The kingdom cut crude production by 390,000 b/d (3.8%) over 2017 and has kept output at this level for the first two months of 2018 ( MEES, 9 March ).

The output cuts resulted in crude exports for 2017 falling below 7mn b/d for the first time since 2010, and market share losses in key markets. However, the gambit secured one of Saudi Arabia’s key aims in boosting oil prices: Saudi’s benchmark Arab Light rising 28% in value to $52.59/B over the course of 2017. But how positive was it overall for government coffers?


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