Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit declines by 84% in second quarter

Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues jumped by 82 percent compared to a year earlier to reach SR184.165 billion. (Courtesy Saudi Aramco)
Updated 08 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit declines by 84% in second quarter

  • Revenues surged by more than two thirds in the second quarter of the year to reach SR273.588 billion
  • Finance ministry said that second quarter figures reflected an improvement in economic activity

LONDON: The Saudi finance ministry said the country’s budget deficit in the second quarter fell by 84 percent to 7.4 billion riyals.

Saudi Arabia also said revenues surged by more than two thirds in the second quarter of the year to reach SR273.588 billion ($72.95 billion), supported by a stronger oil price.

It means the overall deficit fell to SR7.361 billion, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

Oil revenues jumped by 82 percent compared to a year earlier to reach SR184.165 billion.

“The announced second quarter 2018 financial figures reflect the improvement in the public finances performance, which will lead us to continue our reform plans aimed at achieving economic diversification and financial sustainability,” said Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.

The finance ministry said that the second quarter figures reflected an improvement in economic activity — especially in private consumption. 

It based that claim on an uptick in cash sales and cash withdrawals during the period.


China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, look on before proceeding to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 February 2019
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China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

  • US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands

SHANGHAI: Chinese state media on Saturday expressed cautious optimism over trade talks between the United States and China, a day after President Xi Jinping said a week of discussions had produced “step-by-step” progress.
Xi made the comments at a meeting on Friday with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing, after a week of senior- and deputy-level talks.
The People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that Xi’s meeting with US negotiators had affirmed progress made in previous talks and “injected new impetus into the next stage of the development of Sino-US trade relations.”
The talks “have made important progress” for the next round of negotiations in Washington next week, the paper said in its domestic edition.
“It is hoped that the two sides will maintain the good momentum of the current consultations and strive to reach an agreement within the set time limit,” it said.
US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.
In its overseas edition, the People’s Daily said “zero-sum thinking and games where you lose and I win can only create losses for both. Only on a basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, through dialogue and consultation, can we find a solution acceptable to both sides.”
An English-language editorial in the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, said news that China had consulted on the text of a memorandum of understanding “shows the two sides have made unprecedented progress.”
“The MOU and next week’s talks both show that the seemingly endless China-US trade negotiations, like a marathon, are making a final sprint,” it said.
The newspapers cautioned that any agreement would have to be in the interests of both the United States and China.
“There are still obstacles to be overcome, and no one should underestimate how daunting a task the two sides face trying to resolve all the differences that have long existed between them in one clean sweep,” the official English-language China Daily said in an editorial.