Beirut: Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row as the kingdom grapples with low oil prices and its businesses struggle to cope with economic reforms.

The kingdom’s gross domestic product shrank 1% compared with the same period a year earlier, when it expanded 0.9%, according to official data released on Saturday. The economy had contracted 0.5% in the first three months of 2017.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is leading the push to transform the biggest Arab economy at a time when crude prices are at about half their 2014 peak. But as authorities seek to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil, they’re also leading efforts among Opec members and some other major producers to bolster prices by cutting output. The kingdom’s oil GDP shrank 1.8% in the second quarter, weighing on overall activity.

The data also showed how non-oil industries continue to struggle with efforts to overhaul the economy and shore up public finances. The non-oil GDP, the main engine of job creation, expanded below 1%, driven mainly by the government sector, the data show. Bloomberg