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Mon 22 Dec 2014 03:36 PM

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Saudi budget set to be released later this week

Budget is anxiously awaited by financial markets as it will show how Saudi Arabia intends to handle oil price plunge

Saudi budget set to be released later this week

Saudi Arabia's 2015 state budget will not be announced on Monday but instead will be revealed after a special cabinet meeting later this week, local media reported.

Previously, media had said the ministry was expected to make its 2015 budget statement on Monday afternoon.

But private Saudi-owned television broadcaster Al Arabiya, as well as Saudi news website Sabq, quoted unnamed sources as saying the announcement was now expected to come later in the week after a special cabinet meeting.

Sources at other Saudi media organisations also said they now believed the budget would not come out on Monday. Officials at the Ministry of Finance could not be contacted for comment.

The budget is anxiously awaited by financial markets because it will be the first detailed look at how Saudi Arabia intends to handle the economic impact of this year's oil price plunge.

Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and around the Gulf plunged earlier this month because of fears that Riyadh would react to cheaper oil by sharply cutting back its spending on infrastructure and other projects, hurting corporate profits.

But Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf reassured the markets last Wednesday when he said his government would continue spending strongly on development projects and social benefits in the budget. Huge fiscal reserves will allow the government to cover budget deficits for years to come.

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