Saudi Arabia’s budget achieves highest quarterly surplus in over 6 years

Budget supported by high oil prices
Saudi Arabia’s budget achieves highest quarterly surplus in over 6 years
Saudi Arabia

The Saudi budget recorded a surplus of 57.5 billion riyals ($15.33 billion) during Q1, 2022, thanks to a 58 percent year-on-year jump in oil revenues.

The data was issued by the Ministry of Finance hours after the giant oil company, Aramco, announced a net profit increase of 82 percent during Q1 of this year, supported by the significant rise in oil prices and sales volumes.

It was the highest quarterly surplus since the Ministry of Finance began announcing the budget on a quarterly basis starting in 2016, that is, about 6 years ago.

The estimated general budget for the fiscal year 2022 included a surplus of about 90 billion riyals. This means that the Kingdom achieved, during the first three months of the year, 64 percent of the total surplus expected for the entire current fiscal year.

The rise in oil prices supported this surplus and revealed an increase in total revenues by 35.7 percent, on an annual basis, to 277.9 billion riyals, compared to an increase in expenditures by only 3.9 percent, compared to Q1 2021, which amounted to 220.4 billion riyals, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Finance.

Oil revenues accounted for 66 percent of total revenues, amounting to 183.7 billion riyals, compared to non-oil revenues of about 94 billion, led by tax revenues on goods and services amounting to 60.4 billion.

While the Saudi public debt rose to 958.6 billion riyals by the end of Q1, 2022, from 938 billion, external debt represented about 40 percent of the total.

On December 13, the Saudi Cabinet approved the kingdom’s general budget for the fiscal year 2022, with expected revenues of 1045 billion riyals, and expenditures of 955 billion riyals.

According to this budget, Saudi Arabia aims to achieve a financial surplus between revenues and expenses for the first time in 8 years at 90 billion riyals in 2022, taking advantage of the rise in oil prices in conjunction with the relative recovery from the repercussions of the Corona pandemic.

The General Authority for Statistics also announced in early May that the Saudi economy achieved a growth of 9.6 percent during Q1 2022, on an annual basis, which is the highest quarterly growth rate since 2011. This growth is mainly due to the significant 20.4 percent increase achieved by oil activities.