Saudi Arabia’s Business Optimism Index for the non-hydrocarbon industries increased to 60 points in the fourth quarter from 52 in the previous quarter, National Commercial Bank and Dun & Bradstreet said in a statement today.
The fourth-quarter reading for the hydrocarbon industry was unchanged at 63, the companies said today in a statement. The construction sector index increased to 74 in the fourth quarter from 57 in the previous quarter, according to the statement.
The Kingdom, which depends on oil for 86 percent of its revenue, announced increases in government spending in March as protests calling for more job opportunities and democracy engulfed the Middle East. The package included $67 billion on housing and funds for the military and religious groups that backed the government’s ban on domestic protests, and followed a $36 billion handout announced on Feb. 23.
The outlook for Saudi Arabia’s economy is “favorable” this year as the kingdom benefits from additional government spending and increased oil revenue, the International Monetary Fund said in August. Gross domestic product will increase 6.5 percent this year, compared with 4.1 percent in 2010, the Washington-based lender said in a review of the Saudi economy.
In the non-hydrocarbon segment, 46 percent of respondents do not anticipate any negative factors to influence business operations in the quarter, the companies said. Fifty one percent in the non-hydrocarbon industries intend to invest in business expansion this quarter, compared with 48 percent in the third quarter, according to the statement.