October 24, 2018 / 3:28 PM / 10 months ago

Saudi crown prince expects economic growth of 2.5 percent in 2018

FILE PHOTO - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends an event with Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday the kingdom will continue with reforms and spending on infrastructure, predicting the economy will grow by 2.5 percent this year.

Speaking at an investment conference in Riyadh, the crown prince also said he expected economic growth next year to be higher.

Higher oil prices has helped Saudi Arabia’s economy grow in the second quarter at its fastest pace for over a year, according to official data.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, expanded 1.6 percent from a year earlier in the April-June quarter. That was up from 1.2 percent in the first quarter and the fastest growth since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The pick-up was mainly due to the government sector, where growth jumped to 4.0 percent from 2.7 percent as authorities boosted spending, the data showed.

The crown prince also said the kingdom would press ahead with a war on terrorism.

Reporting by Katie paul and Marwa Rashad; writing by Michael Georgy and Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Alison Williams

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