SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product expanded 6.6% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier on additional government spending and higher oil prices.
The government sector grew by 3.6% and the private sector by 9.9%, the Central Department of Statistics and Information in Riyadh said on its website today. The oil industry expanded by 6.1%.
Saudi Arabia’s economy benefited last year from a 23% increase in government spending as the kingdom’s rulers sought to create jobs and build houses in order to avert the kind of popular uprising that swept other Middle Eastern countries.
The government’s allocation of an additional 224 billion riyals (US$60 billion) was backed by oil prices that averaged US$95 a barrel last year, up from US$80 in 2010. The economy’s 6.8% full-year growth in 2011 was the fastest in eight years. Growth will probably slow to 3.8% this year on lower oil output, according to the median estimate of 13 economists compiled by Bloomberg.