Aramco net profit drops by nearly half

Oil giant Saudi Aramco saw its profit nearly cut in half last year as the pandemic wiped out global demand for crude.

The state-controlled Saudi Arabian company logged a net profit of 49 billion dollars, down 44.4 percent from 2019.

President and CEO Amin H. Nasser called it one of the most challenging years in recent history. But he said Aramco is seeing a pick-up in demand in Asia along with positive signs elsewhere.

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, has been propping up crude oil prices since last May by reducing output along with Russia and other countries.

Benchmark prices have recently recovered to pre-pandemic levels on hopes for economic recovery.

Analysts are now waiting to see if Saudi Arabia and other major oil-producing nations will decide to ramp up output when they meet next month.