Saudi Arabia: New Report Charts Shift Towards Downstream Activity

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Oxford Business Group launches 2012 publication on Kingdom’s economy

The massive investment Saudi Arabia is making in major developments across the sectors of its economy, including housing, transport and oil refinery projects, is given wide-ranging coverage in a new report just published by Oxford Business Group (OBG).  

The Report: Saudi Arabia 2012 provides in-depth analysis of the Kingdom’s spending initiatives under the Ninth Development Plan (2010-14) which is expected to generate solid, short-term growth. It also considers Saudi Arabia’s shift to an emphasis on downstream, value-added activity and its plans to increase petrochemicals production within the oil sector. 

The publication, which marks OBG’s fifth year of operations in the Kingdom, was launched at an event held at the Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh on January 29th, attended by a number of high-profile guests. 

The Report: Saudi Arabia 2012 contains a contribution from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors. 

It provides a wide range of interviews with leading political, economic and business representatives, including the former Minister of Economy and Planning Khalid Al Gosaibi, the Deputy Minister for Mineral Resources, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sultan J Shawli, the Secretary-General of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hussein Al Athel Vice-Chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mazen Batterjee.

International personalities, such as the Irish Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for trade and development Jan O’Sullivan and the Chairman and CEO of the Shell Companies in Saudi Arabia Michel Faure, also offer their views on the Kingdom’s economic development.

Produced in partnership with the Council of Saudi Chambers, the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte and Baker Botts, OBG’s new report explores the potential for growth in Saudi Arabia’s banking sector, particularly in the retail segment. It considers the prospects of a rise in consumer lending which the introduction of the Kingdom’s planned mortgage law is expected to generate.

With major infrastructure projects under way across the regions, the Group’s new report turns the spotlight on Jeddah where much of the city’s infrastructure has been upgraded to help accommodate its growing population. The publication also includes wide-ranging coverage of the extensive transport and infrastructure developments taking place in Makkah which are aimed at improving accessibility for tourists and pilgrims. 

The report charts the continuing growth in Saudi Arabia’s construction sector which has been boosted by increasing revenue streams and a growing population. It considers the part that a royal decree to build half a million units should play in tackling a shortage in residential properties. 

Regional Editor Oliver Cornock said Saudi Arabia’s efforts to drive growth across the economy under the Ninth Development Plan were clearly bringing results, with downstream industries in particular benefitting from the expansion of petrochemicals production facilities. “Our report also considers how the Kingdom will manage a possible drop in oil prices prompted by a slowdown in US and EU markets,” he said.

OBG’s Country Director Neslihan Aydagul agreed that Saudi Arabia’s bid to diversify its economy was moving ahead at a fast pace, with the industrial sector, including steel and aluminium production, together with IT, making headway.

She also thanked the Group’s partners in the Kingdom, saying their expertise had brought an added dimension to The Report: Saudi Arabia 2012. “Our partners have made a valuable contribution by sharing their local knowledge with our research team,” she said.

Ana Landeta, OBG’s Jeddah Director, reiterated Aydagul’s comments, saying of the partnerships “Their contributions have undoubtedly strengthened our latest report on the Kingdom’s economy and paved the way for it to become a valuable point of reference for investors worldwide.”

The Report: Saudi Arabia 2012 marks the culmination of more than ten months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG, assessing trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The report is available in print or online.