Saudi: Industrial production drops 3.29% in March

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Saudi Arabia’s index for industrial production dropped 3.29 percent in March 2020 when compared to the same month last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the General Authority for Statistics said on Sunday.

“The decrease in industrial production resulted mainly from lower production in non-oil manufacturing activities (down by 11.46 percent), as the COVID-19 pandemic led some factories to reduce the production operations late in the month,” the authority said in its report, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

A nationwide curfew was ordered on March 23 from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.

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Some of the manufacturing industries affected were: The production of rubber and plastic products, down 30.1 percent, the manufacturing of clothes, down 23.2 percent, the production of machines and equipment, down 20.8 percent, and the manufacturing of food products, down 12.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing of fabricated metal products achieved an increase in volumes produced of 10.7 percent and the production of beverages maintained 2019’s production levels, with a slight increase of 0.2 percent.

Activities for supplying electricity and gas increased by 4.26 percent. The mining and quarrying activities operated at almost unchanged levels, down only 0.43 percent when compared to March 2019.

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“Almost three-quarters of the industrial production (index weight share of 74.5 percent) is driven by mining and quarrying activities, which only slightly decreased in March 2020 (-0.43 percent) as Saudi oil production continued to operate at high volumes,” the authority said.

The authority added that the changes in oil prices during March didn’t have an immediate effect on the index. The Industrial Production Index (IPI) is an economic indicator that reflects the relative changes in the volume of industrial output based on surveying a sample of 3,000 industrial establishments.

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