Saudi Arabia will maintain current spending levels on development projects and social welfare despite “challenging global economic conditions,” the Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-‘Assaf says. Counter-cyclical fiscal policy means foreign reserves built up when oil prices were high will cover government spending in times of need, he says. This policy, which was successfully implemented during the world financial crisis of 2008, will be pursued in 2015, he says.

Speaking to state news agency SPA on 17 December he said that, coupled with private sector activity, state spending will enable the Saudi economy to grow next year. If oil prices remain at anything like current levels – down $50/B from their 2012-13 average – this will be a Herculean task. (CONTINUED - 282 WORDS)