Saudi Arabia is sticking to its guns and plans a sizeable spending increase for 2019. The deficit is projected to fall slightly to around $35bn, but optimistic oil revenue assumptions could push it higher. Debt is forecast to reach 25% of GDP by 2021, still modest by regional standards.

Saudi Arabia released its 2019 budget this week and expects its annual deficit to edge down to $34.9bn. But this is based on oil revenues rising $14.7bn (6.9% in real terms adjusted for expected 2% 2019 inflation) over the course of the year. Such an expectation flies in the face of the prevailing oil market current outlook. (CONTINUED - 976 WORDS)