December 20, 2017 / 5:19 AM / a year ago

RPT-HIGHLIGHTS-Saudi 2018 budget is largest in kingdom's history

 (Repeats without any changes to the text)
    Dec 20 (Reuters) - Following are highlights of Saudi
Arabia's 2018 state budget, released on Tuesday.                
      
BUDGET FORECASTS
  2018
- King Salman says state budget will be the largest in the
kingdom's history. 
- Saudi 2018 state budget spending to be 978 billion riyals 
($261 billion).
- Saudi 2018 state budget projects revenue of 783 billion
riyals.
- Saudi Arabia projects 2018 non-oil revenue at 291 billion
riyals, oil revenue at 492 billion riyals.
- Saudi 2018 state budget projects deficit of 195 billion riyals
or 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
- Public debt projected at 555 billion riyals or 21 percent of
GDP.
    
  2017  
- Saudi Arabia records actual state budget deficit of 230
billion riyals or 8.9 percent of GDP.
- Saudi Arabia records actual expenditure at 926 billion riyals.
- Saudi Arabia records actual revenue of 696 billion riyals.
- Saudi Arabia records 2017 non-oil revenue of 256 billion
riyals, oil revenue 440 billion riyals.
- Public debt 438 billion riyals or 17 percent of GDP
    
  TOTAL GOVERNMENT SPENDING
-  Plan is built on three pillars: the budget, the Public
Investment Fund (PIF) and the new National Development Funds.
These three elements combine to fund 1.11 trillion riyals in
government spending.
- PIF to contribute 83 billion riyals in mega-infrastructure,
real estate and transportation projects.
- National Development Funds are worth 50 billion riyals (32
billion riyals for housing) and there is 22 billion riyals of
stimulus for private sector, small-and-medium enterprises
(SMEs), exports, efficiency and technology sectors.
    
  ECONOMIC GROWTH   
- Saudi Arabia forecasts economy to grow 2.7 percent in 2018,
non-oil sector growth projected at 3.7 percent.
- The economy contracted 0.5 percent in 2017, while non-oil
sector grew 1.5 percent.
                
  COMMENTS 
- Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman says 2018
budget is evidence of economic success despite low oil prices.
            
- Saudi central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey says no
intention to change exchange rate policy.
- He says he expects inflation to return to normal levels next
year after energy prices rise and valued-added tax (VAT) is
introduced; this year saw deflation.
-  "We have for the first time a comprehensive public spending
plan to deliver improved living standards of the citizens and
stimulate the private sector to generate more jobs," Finance
Ministry says in a statement.
-  We need to address short-term economic growth pressure on the
economy, says the ministry.
- Policy-, not target-led approach means Fiscal Balance
Programme, the scheme to bring the budget into balance, now runs
to 2023 to reduce any impact economic on economic growth in
medium term. Earlier target was 2020.
- Deficit will be covered by the transfer of state financial
reserves plus loans and the issuance of bonds and sukuk inside
and outside the kingdom.

 (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Dubai Newsroom)
  
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