April 22, 2017 / 10:32 PM / 4 months ago

Saudi central bank says currency reserves healthy, trade deficit to drop

FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2017.Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo

DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's central bank governor said on Saturday that the Kingdom's foreign currency reserves were healthy, representing 80 percent of GDP, and that the country's trade deficit could drop this year due to a decline in imports.

"The trade deficit is expected to drop this year and possibly to record as a surplus due mainly to the decline in imports and the rising value of exports," Ahmed al-Kholifey told state-run Ekhbariya TV.

"The state of foreign reserves ... is very good, which accounts for 80 percent of GDP and this represents a good line of defense to protect the local economy from any external fluctuations," he said.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Tom Finn; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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