BLOOMBERG – ALAA SHAHINE, DANA KHRAICHE
Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted for two quarters in a row for the first time since the global financial crisis, as the kingdom grapples with low oil prices and its businesses struggle to cope with economic reforms.
The kingdom’s gross domestic product shrank 1 percent in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier, when it expanded 0.9 percent, according to official data released on Saturday. The economy had contracted 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2017.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is leading the push to transform the biggest Arab economy at a time when crude prices are at about half their 2014 peak. But as authorities seek to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil, they’re also leading efforts among OPEC members and some other major producers to bolster prices by cutting output. The kingdom’s oil GDP shrank 1.8 percent in the second quarter, weighing on overall activity.