Saudi Arabia Macroeconomic Developments
- Wholesale prices rose 8.7 percent YoY in March according to the General Authority for Statistics (GAStat), reflecting the effect of the value-added tax (VAT) increase from 5 percent to 15 percent in July 2020. Wholesale prices were also up 0.8 percent compared to the previous month. The biggest contributors were base metals (+24 percent YoY), transportation equipment (+11 percent), and food prices (+11 percent YoY).
- Consumer prices rose 4.9 percent YoY in March. Higher meat and vegetable prices drove a 10 percent YoY increase in the cost of food which also reflects the impact of the VAT increase. On a monthly basis, consumer prices were relatively stable and declined 0.1 percent. Compared to February, transportation prices rose 0.8 percent while rental prices fell 0.4 percent in March.
- Point-of-sale transactions in Saudi Arabia fell 12 percent to reach SAR10 billion ($2.7 billion) during the week ending April 10. Weekly spending pulled back from a record high last week, but still registered as the second highest level of 2021. Food & beverages, restaurants, and clothing retailers accounted for 39 percent of consumer spending.