Changing Structure of the Economy

Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

Measuring the changing structure of the economy was difficult because of the lack of consistent data on the GDP structure. After the 1986 price crash and the shift from the use of the hijra calendar as the basis for government fiscal year accounting, national accounts data were revised and were generally not comparable to pre-1984 data. Moreover, the base year used was extremely important: if the base year were 1980, when oil prices were at peak levels, the nonoil sector in 1986 accounted for 50 percent of real GDP; if the 1970 base year were used, nonoil GDP was closer to 75 percent of total output.

Since 1984 the relative share of nonoil GDP has fallen from 75.8 percent of overall real GDP (in 1970 prices) to 67.4 percent in 1990 (the latest year for which data were available in 1992). This fall in nonoil GDP share resulted from the steady growth in crude oil production, increases in gas output, and higher refinery throughput, which rose prior to the sharp increase in oil output in late 1990. In the nonoil sector, the agricultural sector has grown most during this period. Accounting for 7.5 percent of nonoil output in 1984, this sector had risen to more than 14.7 percent in 1990. The utilities sector has also gained, growing from 2.5 percent of nonoil production in 1984 to 4.6 percent in 1990. In contrast, manufacturing has remained relatively stable, rising from 8.1 percent of nonoil GDP in 1984 to 9.0 percent in 1990. In contrast, construction fell from 14.3 percent of nonoil GDP in 1984 to 9.2 percent in 1990. Services, comprising trade, transport, and social services, fell from more than 66.8 percent to 62.4 percent in the same period.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress