With its dominant oil sector buffeted by coronavirus headwinds, Saudi Arabia’s trade balance slipped into a rare trade deficit in the second quarter of 2020. The deficit was modest at just $7mn, but it was also the first such deficit since 1Q 2016 (see chart 1).

There are no mysteries behind the emergence of the trade deficit. Oil accounted for 77% of export revenues last year and the collapse in oil prices since March had a profound impact. Despite exporting a record 11.34mn b/d of oil in April – 10.24mn b/d of crude and 1.10mn b/d of refined products – oil export revenues fell to just $6.4bn, down nearly two thirds over the same period last year (see chart 2). (CONTINUED - 547 WORDS)