Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit fell by nearly $60bn last year to an eight-year low $19.6bn. Finalized accounts paint an improved picture even from December when the government forecast a $22.7bn deficit for the year (MEES, 17 December 2021). And, with oil prices soaring above $100/B on the back of the Ukraine conflict, the kingdom is this year heading towards its first surplus since 2013.

Not just was Saudi Arabia’s 2021 deficit considerably smaller than the 2020 figure, it was also considerably smaller than the originally budgeted figure of $37.6bn (MEES, 18 December 2020). The deficit came in $18bn under budget despite government expenditure of $277bn being $13bn more than the budgeted figure. The reason? Oil prices. (CONTINUED - 734 WORDS)