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Tue 23 Dec 2008 04:49 PM

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Saudi Arabia to focus on local investments

Finance minister says that kingdom plans to avoid high-risk, long-term foreign exposures.

Saudi Arabia's finance minister said on Tuesday the kingdom's investment policy was to focus on investments in the local economy, while avoiding high-risk, long-term foreign exposures.

"We will focus on the local economy, on investments inside the kingdom, while vis-a-vis the reserves, we do not see long-term (foreign) investments with high risk," Ibrahim al-Assaf told Al Arabiya television.

Saudi Arabia on Monday unveiled its 2009 budget, which projects the oil producer's first fiscal deficit since 2002.

Assaf said earlier the kingdom would be able to cover the 65 billion riyal ($17.33 billion) deficit with reserves accumulated during an oil price rally in previous years. (Reuters)