Saudi Arabia’s budget fell back into a $21.6bn deficit last year amid reduced oil revenues and an expansionary spending program. The kingdom is budgeting for more of the same this year, projecting a $21.1bn deficit as the Vision 2030 economic reform program accelerates.

Despite the economy contracting by 0.8% last year according to revised GDP figures, the government expects the non-oil sector to drive the economy back into growth this year, forecasting 4.4% growth for 2024 (MEES, 9 February). The kingdom is showing no signs of cutting back on capital spending, calculating that huge investments are needed to modernize and diversify the economy away from oil. (CONTINUED - 670 WORDS)