RIYADH Jan 19 (Reuters) - Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world's largest petrochemical groups and the Gulf's biggest listed firm, reported a 5.7 percent year-on-year rise in fourth-quarter net income, missing analysts' forecasts.
It earned 6.16 billion riyals ($1.64 billion) in the quarter, chief financial officer Mutlaq Morished told a news conference on Sunday.
Seven analysts polled by Reuters had forecast, on average, that SABIC would record a net profit for the quarter of 6.58 billion riyals.
The company's results are closely tied to global economic growth because its products - plastics, fertilisers and metals - are used extensively in construction, agriculture, industry and the manufacture of consumer goods.
SABIC chief executive officer Mohamed al-Mady told the news conference that he expected 2014 to be slightly better than 2013, given forecasts for product prices to improve.