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Saudi agrees $23bn financing to balance books

Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al Jadaan Made Nagi/Pool via Reuters
Finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that $12bn bond proceeds will cover the deficit and accelerate spending on major projects
  • 2024 Borrowing Plan approved
  • Vision 2030 spend to increase
  • Projects valued at $1.48trn

Saudi Arabia requires roughly SAR86 billion ($23 billion) in financing this year in order to help balance the kingdom’s books.

The 2024 Annual Borrowing Plan was given the green light by finance minister Mohammed Al Jadaan on Thursday at a board meeting of the National Debt Management Center.

The 2024 budget statement, approved in December, estimated that the deficit for 2023 will be $22 billion, rather than the surplus of $4 billion that was being predicted last year.

The ministry predicted further annual deficits of between $20 billion and $30 billion over the next three years.

The plan will be used to finance the deficit “in addition to seizing available opportunities according to market conditions to implement additional financing activities to pay debt maturing in the coming years”, according to a statement.

“Furthermore, it is committed to leveraging market opportunities to execute alternative government financing activities that promote economic growth, such as financing development and infrastructure projects,” it added.

The kingdom, the largest oil exporter in the world, is also set to ramp up spending on its economic transformation programme Vision 2030, which is designed to end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The total value of ongoing projects in Saudi Arabia was $1.487 trillion at the end of October, according to the Saudi Contractors Authority.

Last month, the kingdom arranged an $11 billion syndicated loan to help fund its infrastructure developments, the largest government loan worldwide this year.

By the end of 2024, Saudi Arabia’s total debt portfolio is expected to reach SAR1.115 billion, amounting to 26 percent of GDP, as previously revealed by the government.

In October, the International Monetary Fund trimmed Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth forecast for 2023 to 0.8 percent from its July estimates of 1.9 percent, and in December the ministry of finance forecast 0.03 percent GDP for 2023 but a rebound to 4.4 percent in 2024.

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