The Ministry of Finance in Saudi Arabia has unveiled the official financial results for the third quarter of 2023 as part of its ongoing commitment to improving the transparency of financial reporting and to increase public awareness of the Kingdom’s financial status and any notable changes in its financial performance.
The financial results for Q3 2023 indicate a decrease in total revenue of SR43 billion ($11.5 billion) when compared to the same period last year, marking a 14-percent decline from SR302 billion to SR258.5 billion.
The primary cause of this decline is a substantial decrease in oil revenue. In Q3 2023, oil revenue was SR147 billion, compared to SR229 billion in the same period in 2022 — a drop of roughly 36 percent.
However, non-oil revenue showed a notable uptick in Q3 2023, reaching around SR112 billion, as opposed to SR73 billion in 2022, a significant 53-percent increase.
Non-oil revenue for January to September 2023 totaled SR349 billion, a 22-percent increase on 2022’s SR287 billion, driven by improved non-oil economic activities.
The Q3 results demonstrate the success of the Kingdom’s economic reforms through the substantial growth of non-oil revenues and the modest public debt-to-GDP ratio, which stood at SR994 billion for January
through to the end of September 2023.
Total expenses in Q3 2023 were SR294 billion, which is a 2-percent increase on the SR288 billion spent in the same period in 2022.
Total expenses for January to September 2023 were SR898 billion — a 12-percent increase on 2022.
The rise in total expenses is primarily down to the government’s support for social protection programs. This is evident in the 27-percent increase in social benefits from January to September 2023 compared to the same period last year.
In Q3 2023, there was a financial deficit of approximately SR36 billion, contrasting with a surplus of SR14 billion for the same period in 2022.
Despite the Q3 2023 oil-revenue drop and the financial deficit, the Kingdom’s financial position remains strong due to its low public debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at less than 25 percent, and its robust government reserves, both foreign and local, all of which serve as a buffer to help the Saudi economy withstand unexpected external shocks.
The Q3 results demonstrate the success of the Kingdom’s economic reforms through the substantial growth of non-oil revenues and the modest public debt-to-GDP ratio, which stood at SR994 billion for January through to the end of September 2023.
The Kingdom’s robust financial position is also underpinned by substantial foreign reserves, totaling SR1.6 trillion as of September 2023.
• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. X: @TalatHafiz