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Saudi reports budget deficit as revenue hits $75bn in Q1

REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Expenditure reached SAR283.86 billion, falling 21.9% from SAR 363.7 billion in Q4 2022

Saudi Arabia reported revenue of SAR280.94 billion ($74.89 billion) in the first quarter of 2023, the finance ministry said in a budget report.

Expenditure reached SAR283.86 billion, falling 21.9 percent from SAR 363.7 billion in Q4 2022.

The kingdom’s non-oil revenue rose nine percent to SAR102.34 billion in Q1 2023, up from SAR94.26 billion a year earlier.

On the other hand, oil revenues reached SAR178 billion, down three percent year-on-year.

The ministry said the budget recorded a deficit of nearly SAR2.91 billion during the three-month period.

Public debt narrowed to SAR962 billion at the end of the first quarter from SAR990 billion at the start of the year. Debt servicing costs leaped 50 percent, while social benefits spending increased 52 percent.

Government reserves rose to SAR415 billion, while the current account dropped to SAR35 billion from SAR145 billion at the end of 2022.

“The opportunities available during the previous year were exploited to reduce financing needs for 2023 through the implementation of advance financing operations,” the report said.

“The volume of public debt is low compared to the G20 countries,” the ministry stated.