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Saudi Arabia posted its first budget surplus in five years over the first quarter of 2019. The kingdom’s latest financial data shows that it racked up a healthy $7.4bn surplus during 1Q 2019, against a massive $23.2bn deficit in 4Q 2019.
The healthier budget finances came largely thanks to a seasonal fall in spending, down from $84.8bn the previous quarter to $58bn. This was however, still up by around $5bn year-on-year. Saudi government spending typically rises through the year, and if previous years are indicative, Q1 expenditure will be the lowest quarter.
Notably, oil revenues of $45.1bn were significantly higher than Q4’s $41.3bn despite the kingdom’s key Arab Light export grade averaging $65.34/B last quarter, down from $68.21/B the previous quarter. Indeed, $45.1bn was more than any quarter last year except for Q2. The implication is that the government opted to increase the dividend that it takes from cash cow Saudi Aramco in Q1. (CONTINUED - 749 WORDS)