Feb 15 2012
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23% of Saudi Arabia imports came from Gulf states last year
The Kingdom's imports from UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman to Saudi Arabia totaled about SR36.9 billion last year, nearly 23.1 percent of the Kingdom's total LC goods imports, NCB said.
Settled LCs for North America and Western Europe goods have increased by 79.2 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively last year, the report said.
Settled LCs for China surged 32.2 percent Y/Y, it added. Other Arab countries' LCs, other than GCC, have dropped to SR5.2 billion in 2011, a 56.4 percent decline from their 2008 levels, NCB said.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) data showed that newly opened LCs have reached almost SR46.3 billion in 4Q11, a 13.3 percent rise over period 2010.
The increase was on account of the machinery and other goods category which gained by 35.9 percent and 32.8 percent, respectively, on an annual basis. Livestock and meat climbed 11.1 percent over Ramadan and Haj demand.
"Saudi's robust economy will continue to boost demand this year as elevated oil prices will translate to more business opportunities."
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's wheat import prospect from the US increased 0.3 million tons to 2.3, reflecting higher feed-wheat demand.
The Kingdom's Grain Silos & Flour Mills Organization said on Oct. 19, 2011 that it will increase wheat imports in 2011/12 is a direct consequence of the country's decision to gradually phase out all water-intensive crops, including wheat, by 2016.
Wheat production has decreased since 2004-05 after the Kingdom halted subsidies for the grain in order to save water.
Wheat production has fallen on average 9.0 percent annually since 2005/06, and the production deficit has increased by 29.6 percent.
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