Riyadh Stays Positive

Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-‘Assaf painted a positive picture of the kingdom’s financial position during a seminar in Riyadh on 25 October. Despite oil prices remaining around $50/B, less than half 2014’s levels, the minister said “we have managed to maintain our public finances in a good position, preserve stability in foreign reserves which remain at a high level, and to keep our level of debt low.” Indeed, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said debt level was arguably too low earlier this month (MEES, 14 October).

Foreign reserves at the end of August stood at $562bn, down 23% from $732bn from end-2014, according to SAMA statistics. Saudi banks have relatively high capital adequacy ratios and liquidity levels, despite some current pressures, Mr ‘Assaf said. He went on to note that some government entities have already taken measures to comply with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP), which envisage a raft of economic reforms. (CONTINUED - 375 WORDS)