Saudi Arabia's economy shrank more slowly in the third quarter as the government eased some coronavirus restrictions, but the pandemic-hit oil sector continued to weigh on the broader economy, official data showed Thursday.
The economy shrank 4.6% in the third quarter, rebounding slightly from the 7% slump in the previous quarter but marked by declines in both the oil and non-oil sectors, the data showed.
Saudi Arabia is facing its worst economic decline in decades after the COVID-19 pandemic curbed global crude demand and measures to contain it also hurt other sectors.
The world's largest oil exporter said on Tuesday it expects the economy to shrink by 3.7% this year but to swing back to a growth of 3.2% next year.
"This negative growth originated mainly from the contraction in the oil sector by 8.2% and a negative growth rate of 2.1% recorded in the non-oil sector," the General Authority for Statistics said Thursday about the third-quarter data.
The private sector, the main focus in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plans to diversify the economy away from oil, shrank by 3.1%, while the government sector grew by 0.5%.