Saudi Arabia posts surplus for first time since 2014

Oil revenues rose 48 percent from the same period in 2018
Saudi Arabia posts surplus for first time since 2014
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 02 May 2019 11:38 AM

Saudi Arabia recorded a surplus of SAR 27.8 billion ($7.41 billion) in Q1, driven by both oil and non-oil revenues.

The results mark the first time since 2014 that the kingdom posted a surplus.

According to figures published by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, in the first three months of 2019 oil revenues reached SAR 169 billion, a 48 percent increase from the same period in 2018.

Non-oil revenues totalled SAR 76.3 billion, a 46 percent year-on-year increase. Expenditures were recorded at SAR 217.6 billion, an 8 percent increase from the prior year.

The year after a slump in oil prices in 2014, Saudi Arabia had a budget deficit of approximately SAR 367 billion, representing about 15 percent of the kingdom’s GDP.

In December, Saudi officials announced plans to increase state spending by 7 percent to bolster the economy and projected spending wold rise to SAR 1.106 trillion, an increase from SAR 1.030 trillion in 2018.

According to the latest government figures, the government spent SAR 10.3 billion on subsidies, a 3 percent increase.

“Expenditure outlays on development projects are expected to increase during the remainder of the year especially on Vision Realization Programs and private sector development programs, alongside increasing expenditure on social protection,” the Ministry of Finance statement read.

Public debt totalled SAR 610.6 billion during the same period.

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