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Saudi c.bank official predicts 2 percent GDP growth

Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is likely to be around 2 percent in 2016, a central bank official said on Thursday

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Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is likely to be around 2 percent in 2016, a central bank official said on Thursday, reflecting the impact of lower oil prices on the kingdom’s economy.

GDP was up 3.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, according to official statistics, but the International Monetary Fund forecast in January that the world’s biggest oil exporter would register just 1.2 percent growth in 2016.

“We disagree with that,” Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, deputy governor for research and international affairs at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, told reporters on the sidelines of an economic conference.

He was answering questions following a speech in which he referred to the IMF and to other forecasts that were lower than the fund’s. “Most likely it’s around 2 percent,” he said.