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Price war cost Saudi Arabia $12 billion in oil exports in one month


Despite record oil exports in April as Saudi Arabia flooded the market with excess oil, the value of the Kingdom’s crude exports plunged by US$12 billion from April 2019 levels as the lowest oil prices in years hit revenues.

In April, the value of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports plummeted by 65.4% or $12 billion, dragging down the value of the total merchandise exports of the world’s top oil exporter, data from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Statistics showed on Thursday.

The value of Saudi oil exports plunged by 23.5% compared to March, the statistics office said.

The share of oil exports in total exports fell from 77.4% in April 2019 to 64.7% in April 2020.

China was Saudi Arabia’s main trading partner for merchandise trade in April 2020, with Saudi exports to China valued at $1.9 billion (7.16 billion riyals).

Saudi Arabia made good on its promise to flood the market with oil after the collapse of the previous OPEC+ deal in early March, exporting a record 10.237 million barrels per day (bpd) in April 2020, up from 7.391 million bpd in March, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed last week.

OPEC’s largest producer also saw oil export revenues fall in Q1 2020, by 21.9% to $40 billion, when Brent crude prices fell by as much as 60%.

Under the OPEC+ deal sealed in April, Saudi Arabia is reducing its oil production to 8.5 million bpd in May, June and July, restricting exports to some customers in Asia, and significantly cutting shipments to the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s economy is set to shrink much more this year than initially expected, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said earlier this week in an update of its projections from April.

According to the IMF, the Saudi economy will crash by 6.8% this year, compared to an initial estimate of a 2.3% decline, as “disruptions due to the pandemic, as well as significantly lower disposable income for oil exporters after the dramatic fuel price decline, imply sharp recessions” in Saudi Arabia as well as in its key partner in the OPEC+ deal, Russia.

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