Oil giant Saudi Aramco reported a first-quarter profit on Tuesday of $31.88 billion, down from $39.47 billion the same quarter last year.
The firm known formally as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. blamed the drop on lower global oil prices. Aramco made a $30.73 billion profit in the fourth quarter of last year.
In March, Aramco announced earning $161 billion last year, claiming the highest-ever recorded annual profit by a publicly listed company and drawing immediate criticism from activists amid concerns about climate change. Those earnings came off the back of energy prices rising after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022, with sanctions limiting the sale of Moscow’s oil and natural gas in Western markets.
However, oil prices have sunk in recent weeks amid fears of a coming recession as central banks in the U.S. and elsewhere raise interest rates to try to tame inflation. Benchmark Brent crude traded early Tuesday around $76 a barrel, down from a high of $125 in the last year.
Aramco stock traded at $9.55 a share on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange at close Monday, giving the oil firm a $2.1 trillion valuation and putting it only behind Apple and Microsoft for the highest market capitalization in the world. Separately Tuesday, Aramco announced it would begin issuing performance-based dividends to stockholders, on top of the dividends it already offers. Its base dividend in the fourth quarter of last year was $19.5 billion.