Saudi Arabia projects $53 bn deficit in 2017
AFP, , Thursday 22 Dec 2016

Saudi Arabia on Thursday projected a 2017 budget deficit of about $53 billion and a lower than expected shortfall for this year after government cost-cutting in response to lower oil prices.

Expenses next year will reach 890 billion riyals ($237 billion) against revenues of 692 billion riyals ($184 billion), cabinet said in a statement.

It said this year's deficit will be 297 billion riyals ($79 billion), down 8.9 percent from 2016's budget forecast.

Revenues for this year are expected at 528 billion riyals, higher than projections a year ago of 513.75 billion.

Spending is expected to come in at 825 billion riyals for 2016, 1.8 percent lower than foreseen.

The world's biggest oil exporter froze major building projects, cut cabinet ministers' salaries, and imposed a wage freeze on civil servants in the wake of last year's record deficit, which reached $97 billion.