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Saudi spending to rise by $48bn this year

Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank has said the kingdom's public expenditure is expected to rise by SR180bn ($48bn) in 2011 due to a massive financial package for citizens announced by King Abdullah, Emirates 24-7 has reported. "The government's 2011 budget plan of reducing overspending and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability has been somewhat disregarded after the regional political turmoil as King Abdullah set to spend almost SR500bn ($135bn)," NCB said. Despite the surge in spending, the budget will record a surplus of around 3.2% of GDP as the average price of Arabian light is expected to reach elevated levels coupled with higher production by the kingdom, it said.