Al-Assaf: Kingdom Weathers Fall in Oil Prices Due to its Economic Strength

Saudi Arabia has been able to challenge falling oil prices thanks to its economic strength, said Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said on Sunday.

“The economy continues to make growth as a result of the government’s large-scale spending on huge investment projects and the private sector’s active participation,” he said.

Addressing a meeting of the Saudi-German Joint Commission in Riyadh, Al-Assaf said the financial and monetary policies adopted by the government over the past years were instrumental in strengthening the Kingdom’s financial stability and its banking sector.

“All these factors helped the Kingdom deal with the negative impact of falling oil prices,” the minister said while emphasizing the government’s efforts to continue economic reforms and restructure its components such as housing, railways, desalination and power generation.

Al-Assaf said the Kingdom’s gross domestic product reached $752 billion in 2014, registering a growth of 3.59 percent compared to the previous year. “All these results have prompted international rating agencies to give the Kingdom the rate of –AA on the long-term,” he added.

During the meeting, Saudi Arabia and Germany sought to develop their economic ties.

“The amount of trade and joint investments does not reflect the economic potential of both countries’ economies,” said Al-Assaf.

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said his country was ready to boost its role in diversifying the Saudi economy, especially in infrastructure, transport and the petrochemicals sectors, SPA reported.

Bilateral trade between Germany and Saudi Arabia reached $12.4 billion in 2013, of which the Kingdom’s exports to the European powerhouse amounted to a mere $418 million, according to official figures.

The countries have 191 joint projects with a total investment of $17.2 billion, said Al-Assaf, who invited German companies to explore further opportunities in the Kingdom.


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