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Saudi Arabia expected to announce 2016 budget this week

Experts believe kingdom will press ahead with mega priority projects, undeterred by downhill slope in oil prices

Saudi Arabia is set to officially announce its 2016 budget amid expectations that the kingdom will not cut spending by significant amounts despite the oil-price plunge.

Experts believe the kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, will press ahead with mega priority projects, undeterred by the downhill slope crude oil prices have taken since the beginning of the current year.

Over the past few years, there was noticeable difference between the announced budget and the real budget but in 2016, the estimated budget will be very close to the real budget.

In 2012, the budget was estimate at SAR690 billion but real expenditure in that year amounted to SAR873bn, notes a report by the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Last year, the estimated budget was SAR855bn but real spending amounted to a massive SAR1.1 trillion, up by 29.8 per cent.

This year, the Saudi government allocated SAR860bn but real expenditures are projected to surge above SAR1trn. Furthermore, the kingdom is expected to post a budget deficit of SAR400bn, as prices continue to tumble.

(SAR1 = AED0.98, at the time of publishing)