Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi foreign reserves fall 5% as oil revenue drops

Saudi foreign reserves minister of finance Mohammed al Jadaan Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
The Saudi minister of finance, Mohammed al Jadaan, announced that some giga-projects would slow down to avoid creating supply bottlenecks and inflation
  • Total reserve assets now $437bn
  • Oil revenues go into giga-projects
  • GDP growth forecast lowered

Saudi Arabia’s international reserve assets fell 5 percent in value year on year in 2023, after oil output cuts that hit GDP had only limited success supporting prices. 

Central bank figures show total reserve assets were at SAR1.6 trillion ($437 billion), from  SAR1.7 trillion in January 2023, when the government was embarking on a policy of Opec+ output cuts to try to keep prices up as global demand weakened. 

Foreign currency reserves make up more than 90 percent of total assets, which also include foreign securities, the reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), special drawing rights, and monetary gold. 

Saudi foreign reserves fell by around $16 billion in July last year, as the government appeared to funnel a greater share of oil revenues into the Public Investment Fund to pay for its massive economic development project. 

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is trying to diversify its economy via massive development projects that have made the country one of the world’s largest construction sites

Last month the IMF lowered its forecast for Saudi Arabia’s increase in GDP in 2024 to 2.7 percent, down from a forecast of 4 percent made last October, on the grounds of lower oil production, which is due to continue until March. The government says GDP declined by around 1 percent in 2023. 

The kingdom’s finance minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, said in December that the timetables of some giga-projects would be slowed to avoid creating supply bottlenecks and inflation. 

The IMF has predicted average inflation of 2.2 percent in Saudi Arabia in 2024 and 2 percent in 2025. 

Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves are seen as vital to maintaining confidence in the dollar peg. Reserves hit a high of $744 billion in 2014 but are now back down to 2010 levels. 

Fitch Ratings, affirming its A+ rating for Saudi Arabia this month, said: “We forecast reserves to decline to an average of $420 billion in 2024-2025, as the current account surplus narrows on the assumption of lower oil revenue.” 

However, Fitch said that Saudi Arabia had “one of the highest reserve coverage ratios among Fitch-rated sovereigns, at 16.5 months of current external payments.” 

Latest articles

Flooding in Dubai affected many people's homes. Emaar has promised .free repairs for its residents, and an upgraded sewerage system is planned

Emaar promises free repairs as Dubai launches sewerage system

Emaar Properties is offering free repairs to residents whose homes were damaged during this week’s extreme flooding, as Dubai also announced an AED80 billion ($22 billion) sewerage system. The developer announced on Friday that it would repair all homes in its communities affected by the historic levels of rain, “at no cost to residents”. Emaar’s […]

Construction work in Kuwait. Nurseries, schools and shops are being built for the new residential district of Al Metlaa

Kuwait signs $140m contracts for Al Metlaa development

Kuwait’s Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) has signed two contracts worth KD42 million ($140 million) to construct public buildings in Al Metlaa, a new residential district north of Kuwait City. Nurseries, stores, schools and shops will be included, state news agency Kuna reported. Electricity connections have been provided for 109 buildings in the district, […]

Iraq gas oil

Iraq to auction 30 oil and gas projects this month

Iraq will auction 30 new oil and gas projects in two licensing rounds before the end of April. The bidding round will be held on April 27, Reuters reported, citing an oil ministry statement. Last October Iraq passed a long-awaited oil and gas law, which will help the country attract more international investments into the hydrocarbon industry and boost government revenues.  Ali Metwally, an […]

Workers at Cano Limon oil field in eastern Colombia. Oil is one of the country's largest exports

UAE strikes Colombia deal to strengthen Latin American links

The UAE has strengthened trade relations with Latin America after signing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Colombia, just days after a Cepa deal was struck with Costa Rica. Officials from the UAE and Colombia put pen to paper on an agreement that will cut tariffs and remove trade barriers between the two countries. UAE […]