Saudi Arabia awarded 124 permits for industrial projects in January with combined investments of nearly 2.4 billion riyals ($640 million) within a strategy to expand the non-oil manufacturing sector and diversify the domestic economy. 

Figures by the Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry showed 18 permits were for metal projects, 12 for chemicals and the rest for building materials and other products. 

The new permits boosted the number of industrial units in the world’s largest oil exporter to 10, 633 at the end of January with a total capital of around 1.4 trillion riyals ($373 billion), the report said. 

It showed that foreigners own nearly 10 percent of the new industrial permits while around 9.68 percent are joint ventures. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)