Saudi Arabia Macroeconomic Developments
- The IMF raised its GDP forecast for Saudi Arabia’s to 2.9 percent in 2021, up from its January projection of 2.6 percent. The Fund also maintained its projection for Saudi GDP of 4 percent in 2022.
- Loan guarantees under the Kafalah program for small and medium enterprises stood at SAR30 billion ($7.9 billion) at the end of 2020, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The program benefited more than 10,000 establishments and doubled 2019’s level. The top beneficiaries were wholesale and retail businesses hit by pandemic restrictions.
- Point-of-sale (POS) transactions in Saudi Arabia rose 29 percent during the week ending April 3, hitting a new high of SAR11.4 billion ($3 billion). Last week’s figure was only the second time weekly spending exceeded the pre-VAT spike since last July. Spending picked up in services and retail sectors like hotels, food & beverages, and clothes & footwear after Saudi Arabia lifted some COVID restrictions.