DUBAI, Sept 29 Net foreign assets at Saudi
Arabia's central bank fell to $554 billion in August, down by
about $1 billion from July, as the government drew on reserves
to cover a budget deficit caused by low oil prices, official
data showed on Thursday.
Assets shrank by 15.4 percent from a year earlier to their
lowest level since January 2012. They reached a record high of
$737 billion in August 2014 before starting to fall.
The assets are believed to be mainly denominated in U.S.
dollars, in the form of securities such as U.S. Treasury bonds
and deposits with banks abroad.
Those deposits shrank 4.2 percent from the previous month to
$119 billion in August, but holdings of foreign securities rose
1.5 percent to $376 billion.
The government has also been borrowing domestically and
abroad to cover part of its deficit, which totalled nearly $100
billion last year. Bankers expect it to conduct its first
international bond issue to raise about $10 billion or more by
the end of October.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Toby Chopra)