Saudi Arabia posted a $1.5bn deficit for the first half of 2019, down sharply from $11.1bn in the corresponding period of 2018. Latest finance ministry data show both revenue and spending are up considerably year-on-year. 2019 as a whole will almost certainly see a deficit; it will likely be much more modest than 2018’s $46.4bn or the official budget projection of $34.9bn for 2019.

Last year’s deficit came in substantially higher than the kingdom’s initial estimates in late December 2018 when the Ministry of Finance said it expected it to come in at $34.9bn (MEES, 21 December 2018). However, this was still substantially less than the budgeted $52bn. (CONTINUED - 844 WORDS)