The IMF’s latest report on Saudi Arabia, released 9 September, praises the country’s “economic and social reform agenda, including the introduction of the value-added tax and energy price reforms.” These “reforms have started to yield results and that the outlook for the economy is positive,” the IMF says, projecting that GDP growth will pick up from the 2019 forecast of 1.9% “as ongoing reforms take hold.”

On the other hand, symptomatic of the country’s economy still being addicted to oil is that lower oil prices this year versus last mean a projected widening of the fiscal deficit to 6.5% of GDP versus 5.9% for 2018. Though the IMF projects a narrowing to 5.1% of GDP in 2020, “with oil prices implied by futures markets declining over the medium-term, the deficit is then projected to widen.” (CONTINUED - 169 WORDS)