Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted for a fifth straight quarter, battered by oil market turmoil and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Iran PressMiddle East: The oil economy fell 8.2 percent, representing the biggest drop since at least the start of 2011 when the US financial news site began compiling such data.

According to Bloomberg, though Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector has not contracted at a similar level it has lost less steam, declining by 2.1 percent compared to 8.2 percent in the second quarter, when the Saudi government eased virus restrictions and businesses gradually reopened.

The overall figure is said to be slightly worse than an estimated contraction of 4.2 percent released by the statistics body last month, which didn't include a breakdown by sector.

Explaining the downturn, Bloomberg said that the world's largest oil exporter is facing a dual crisis this year as the pandemic and lower energy prices strain its finances and the private sector.

Economists have suggested that other reasons for the slow economic growth are the austerity measures introduced by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

Riyadh projects an overall economic contraction of 3.7 percent this year and growth of 3.2 percent in 2021.

Question marks have previously been raised over the health of the Saudi economy following revelations that Bin Salman was required to take out a loan to fund parts of his mega project NEOM a $500 billion futuristic city-state near the Red Sea and the borders of Egypt and Jordan.