March 22 (Reuters) - Fitch:
* Fitch downgrades Saudi Arabia to ‘A+'; outlook stable
* Fitch on Saudi Arabia - expect central government deficit to fall to 9.2% of GDP in 2017 and 7.1% of GDP in 2018
* Fitch on Saudi Arabia - general government debt will rise to 14.5% of GDP in 2018
* Fitch on Saudi Arabia - expects non-oil sector to grow by 1.4% in 2017, supported by arrears payments in late 2016 and early 2017
* Fitch says views Saudi Arabia’s banking sector as strong and stable
* downgraded Saudi Arabia’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-'.
* Fitch says Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical risks remain high relative to its ‘A’ category peers.
* Fitch says “tensions with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, also persist and could escalate, although direct military conflict remains highly unlikely”
* Fitch says Saudi Arabia’s “line of succession has been clearly defined, but Fitch believes rivalries within royal family could become a source of instability”
* Fitch says downgrade of Saudi Arabia’s long-term IDRs reflects continued deterioration of public and external balance sheets
* Fitch says downgrade of Saudi Arabia’s long-term IDRs also reflect significantly wider than expected fiscal deficit in 2016
* Fitch says downgrade of Saudi Arabia’s long-term IDRs also reflect continued doubts about extent to which government’s reform programme can be implemented Source text for Eikon: