|【文章摘要】 Construction demand is picking up following a relatively stagnant performance in the past two years. Saudi Arabia has the largest population in the GCC with approximately 33 million people.1 The majority of people reside in urban cities, which is giving rise to sprawling metropolitan centers. A rapidly growing population and urbanization increase the provisions for basic services such as healthcare, education, energy, water, and roads.2 These demographic trends are driving demand for new developments notably in the urban construction and transport sectors which will sustain the market over the next few years. The sustainable growth of metropolitan cities is also critical to meet the long-term energy needs of the population as new capital is being deployed into the renewable energy segment, such as utility-scale solar energy plants and smart cities.3 Saudi Arabia has one of the most dependent economies on oil, which accounts for over 50% of the national GDP and 90% of export earnings.4 Saudi Vision 2030 was launched in April 2016 as an economic diversification roadmap to reduce the country's dependency on oil through investments in the nonhydrocarbon sector. The plan calls for new reform policies to encourage private sector participation in the build-up of new industries with particular focus on energy, healthcare, housing and municipal services.5 Investments in the construction market provide the impetus for growth by putting in place the necessary infrastructure and financial capital to promote development. Beneficiaries of the plan include petrochemical and industrial production as well as key areas of transport and logistics notably in the country's Eastern Province.6 The retail segment is expected to create new jobs from foreign investments in cosmopolitan cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah and Makkah.7 Housing represents the most significant area of expenditure under the plan, with the aim of growing real estate sector contribution to GDP from 5% to 10%.8 The plan's long-term goal is to address the economic challenges brought about by exogenous energy price shocks.9 The Saudi construction market has been subdued since the end of 2014 due to declining energy prices, as many state-sponsored projects were suspended and budgets revised.10 The economy needed time to adjust to new price levels, as austerity measures were put in place to curb a large budget deficit. The slowdown in construction demand resulted in lower operating margins and squeezed profits for many builders.11 Bank lending policies became restrictive which limited access to capital and payment durations reached an average of 120 to 180 days.12 The net effect was a lowering of working capital and cash flow positions of many companies.13 Despite these challenges, reform policies have been taking effect to increase sources of funding, while recent project announcements indicate that the construction market is slowly recovering.