The General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) announced on Wednesday that the Saudi trade balance in 2022 registered record results of SAR 830 billion ($222 billion), with exports exceeding SAR 1.5 trillion ($411 billion) against imports amounting to SAR 712 billion ($189.8 billion).
During the same period, non-oil exports reached their highest levels, amounting to SAR 315.7 billion ($84 billion).
Experts told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi government has put forward a package of initiatives to empower the private sector and reduce clearance time, which contributed to accelerating trade between the Kingdom and other countries.
They added that programs and initiatives presented by the competent authorities contributed to the access of international companies and factories to the local market, in addition to the growth of the local business sector.
According to the International Trade Bulletin issued by GASTAT, merchandise exports increased 48.9 percent in the past year, after their value exceeded SAR 1.5 trillion ($411 billion), as a result of a rise in oil exports by SAR 468 billion ($124.8 billion).
The value of oil exports amounted to SAR 1.2 trillion ($327 billion), compared to SAR 758 billion ($202 billion) in the previous year, while the percentage of oil exports increased from 73.2 percent in 2021 to 79.5 percent in 2022.
The bulletin revealed that non-oil exports (including re-exports) increased by 13.7 percent in 2021, to record SAR 315.7 billion ($84 billion), compared to SAR 277.5 billion ($74 billion) last year.
Non-oil exports (including re-exports) rose to 14.8 percent, and the value of re-exports increased to 8.6 percent over the same period.
Imports witnessed a 24.2 percent increase last year, amounting to SAR 138.9 billion ($37 billion), as its value reached SAR 712 billion ($189.8 billion), compared to SAR 573.2 billion ($152.8 billion) in 2021.
GASTAT said that the products of chemical industries and related items were among the most important non-oil export commodities, and constituted 35.8 percent of the total exports, with an increase of 34.5 percent compared to 2021.
Beijing was Riyadh’s main partner in merchandise trade during 2022. The value of Saudi exports to China amounted to SAR 249.9 billion ($66.6 billion), accounting for 16.2 percent of total exports.
Economist Ahmed Al-Jubeir told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi government’s initiatives and programs contributed to increasing the value of commodity exports, given the capabilities available to all national factories and the measures that facilitated the export process through air, sea and land ports.
For his part, Nashmi Al-Harbi, a logistics expert, pointed to a significant improvement in the Saudi supply chain system and logistics services.
Al-Harbi added that the initiatives launched by the competent authorities have increased the volume of exports and imports. He stressed that the rise of Saudi Arabia to the 18th place in the global logistics performance index was the culmination of efforts aimed at attracting foreign investments.