Saudi economy shrank by 7% in Q2 showing depth of coronavirus hit

DUBAI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s economy shrank by 7% in the second quarter, a sign of how deeply the new coronavirus hit both the oil and non-oil sectors, official data showed on Wednesday.

The world’s largest oil exporter is facing its worst ever economic decline after the COVID-19 pandemic curbed global crude demand and measures to contain the coronavirus hurt domestic demand.

“The private sector and the government sector recorded a negative growth rate of 10.1% and 3.5%, respectively,” said the General Authority for Statistics.

In the first quarter, Saudi Arabia posted a 1% economic contraction, as that only captured part of the oil price collapse and the pandemic impact, which escalated in March.

The non-oil sector, which is the focus of Saudi reforms aimed at diversifying the economy away from crude revenues, was hit the hardest in the second quarter, shrinking by 8.2%, while the oil sector declined by 5.3%, the statistics authority said.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Andrew Heavens