Saudi budget deficit shrinks on rising oil


Saudi budget deficit shrinks on rising oil
Saudi deficit dropped to SR46.5 billion in Q2 from SR58.4 billion a year earlier.

Published: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 10:41 PM

Saudi Arabia's state budget deficit shrank by a fifth in the second quarter from a year earlier as revenues rose moderately on the back of higher oil prices.
The deficit dropped to SR46.5 billion ($12.4 billion) in the April-June period from about SR58.4 billion a year earlier, data from the finance ministry showed on Sunday. It expanded from SR26.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, however.
Saudi officials said the figures showed the world's largest oil exporter was making good progress in repairing state finances that have been severely damaged by slumping oil prices in the last three years.
"Today's update presents clear evidence of progress towards achieving fiscal balance by 2020," finance minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said in a statement.
"Whilst economic challenges remain, we are confident in achieving our fiscal deficit projections for 2017," he added. The government has projected a deficit of SR198 billion or roughly 8 per cent of gross domestic product this year, down from an actual SR297 billion in 2016.
Revenues increased 6 per cent from a year ago to SR163.9 billion in the second quarter. However, that was because of higher oil prices and Riyadh appeared to make little progress overall in developing non-oil revenues, which are key to its long-term drive to wean itself off dependence on energy exports.
Oil revenues jumped 28 per cent from a year ago to SR101.0 billion while non-oil revenues shrank 17 per cent to SR62.9 billion.
Spending dropped 1.3 per cent to SR210.4 billion in the second quarter because of a nearly 40 per cent fall in the government's "use of goods and services" - a sign that to save money, Riyadh was continuing to hold back on expenditure on infrastructure projects and was cutting operating costs.

By Reuters

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