RIYADH: Saudi non-oil exports jumped 37 percent to a record SR125.3 billion ($33.4 billion) in the first half of 2021, SPA reported.
Non-oil exports were SR91.7 billion in the first half of 2020.
They increase by 8 percent in quantity, equivalent to 34.7 million tons, suggesting a rebound in prices as volumes returned to normal.
Global trade collapsed last year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the world into lockdown. However, trade has rebounded strongly this year and last week the WTO upgraded its forecast for global merchandise trade volume growth to 10.8 percent in 2021 and 4.7 percent in 2022.
Saudi Arabia exported to 170 countries in the first half, led by SR17.0 billion of goods to the UAE, followed by SR16.8 billion to China, and SR7.1 billion to India.
The petrochemical sector was the biggest source of exports with a value of SR73.6 billion in the period, up from SR51.2 billion during the same period last year, representing growth of 44 percent.
The H1 report follows data from the General Authority for Statistics that showed July’s non-oil exports increased 17.9 percent year on year to SR20.8 billion.
The total value of exports amounted to SR91.8 billion in July 2021, up from 51.1 billion riyals in July 2020, led by a 112.1 percent increase in oil exports.
However, oil exports continued to dominate Saudi trade with crude’s share increasing from 65.5 percent in July 2020 to 77.4 percent in July 2021.
Saudi Arabia is pushing to increase non-oil exports as it seeks to ween its economy off dependency on oil sales with a goal of raising the percentage of non-oil exports to 50 percent by 2030 and foreign direct investment from 3.8 percent to an international average of 5.7 percent.
The Kingdom is in negotiations with 11 countries on possible free-trade agreement, including China, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the US.
The Kingdom aims to export services including transport, distribution, professional and financial services, communication services, postal services as well as express mail, media, hotel, construction and contracting, education and training, travel and tourism, environmental, and entertainment.
In August, the Saudi Export Development Authority said more than 900 Saudi companies with over 2,000 locally manufactured products had registered with the Kingdom’s “Made in Saudi” program, an initiative to boost the competitiveness of Saudi products at home and abroad.
The program gives top priority to 16 different economic sectors including chemicals and polymers, building materials, electronics, and packaging.
Additionally, the Saudi Exports Development Authority said in August it will identify over 120 international tendering opportunities in a number of target countries, mainly covering construction and industrial supplies and infrastructure projects.
In the same month, The Saudi Export-Import Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Saudi Chambers to provide importers and exporters loans and other financial services.