Submitted by Gregory Brew via OilPrice.com,
With the OPEC production deal holding, at least for the moment, questions have now arisen over how prospects look for the cartel’s biggest producer. It’s been a strange few years for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as its endured budget deficits for the first time in its modern history, stagnation in oil prices and rising competition from other OPEC members and the American shale boom. Recently, talk has centered on the Saudi monarchy’s glimpse of the future: the Vision 2030 plan, whereby it hopes to diversify its economy and end its dependence on the mercurial oil and gas market. But can the world’s biggest oil producer and OPEC’s de facto leader pull it off?
In the short term, Riyadh will continue to feel the pain of lower-than-normal oil prices. The growth outlook for Saudi Arabia has been slashed, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced on January 16 that the world’s largest oil producer would see its GDP grow by only 0.4 percent in 2017. The estimate comes on the basis of the continued low price of oil, but more importantly on the country’s slashed oil production: as a result of the recent OPEC production deal, Saudi Arabia has agreed to keep its production level at or below 10 million bpd. This has resulted in a cut in its growth outlook, down from 2 percent in October, according to Bloomberg.
This comes after anemic growth in 2016, where GDP expanded by only 1.4 percent. If oil prices stabilize, and the country’s economic forecast improves, GDP will likely expand by 2.3 percent in 2018.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 20, 2017.