Saudi Arabia strengthened its trade balance in 2017 with its surplus more than doubling to $95bn. Healthier oil prices more than offset lower export volumes, boosting export revenues, but the government’s efforts to invigorate the non-oil sector continue to fall flat.

Saudi Arabia has been the driving force behind the Opec+ production cuts that have been in force since January 2017. The kingdom cut crude production by 390,000 b/d (3.8%) over 2017 and has kept output at this level for...