Saudi Steps Up Spending In Bid To Boost Economy

Saudi Arabia’s latest financial projections show expected annual real terms growth of less than 2.5% out to 2021 despite a range of measures to stimulate the economy. Spending is set to be stepped up again in a bid to accelerate growth.

Saudi Arabia plans a spending spree in the second half of 2018 that will see the budget deficit nearly quadruple from 1H 2018. Nevertheless, the expected $39.5bn deficit announced in revised Ministry of Finance figures is still considerably less than 2017’s $63.6bn.

Government figures show that the kingdom accrued a deficit of $11.1bn in the first half of the year ( MEES, 24 August ), but these latest figures imply that it expects to pile on a further $28.4bn in the second half. Given that the ministry expects revenues to edge up less than 1% versus the first half of 2018, it is clear that the deficit is set to grow thanks to ballooning spending.


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