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Saudi posts big decline in Q3 fiscal deficit as oil revenues rise

Saudi posts big decline in Q3 fiscal deficit as oil revenues rise

Riyadh aims to balance its budget by 2023

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported a third-quarter fiscal deficit of SAR7.3bn ($1.95bn), a big drop from the SAR48.7bn reported a year earlier thanks to a surge in oil revenues.

The latest deficit figure was close to the SAR7.36bn recorded in the second quarter.

“The improvement in fiscal performance is reflected by the decrease in the deficit with positive oil and non-oil growth, compared to the same period in 2017, and the planned budget,” Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said in a statement.

A ministry statement quoted Jadaan as saying that “regardless of the Q3 positive indicators, challenges in the public finances still exist and require us to maintain our efforts to move forward with our reforms”.

The kingdom, which has launched a number of economic reforms meant to diversify its oil-reliant economy, has forecast a deficit of SAR195bn or 7.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, down from SAR230bn last year.

Riyadh aims to balance its budget by 2023.

Government revenues for the third quarter rose 57 per cent quarter-on-quarter to SAR223.3bn, the statement added, with oil revenue jumping 63 per cent to SAR153.95bn, driven by an increase in international crude prices.

Non-oil revenue rose 45 per cent quarter on quarter to SAR69.3bn.

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