SHAFAQNA – The number one crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has projected a $39 billion deficit in 2015. The impact of lower oil prices, along with the decision not to cut production, is putting pressure on the country’s finances.
Some economists fear that the deficit in 2015 might be even larger than projected, since Saudi Arabians have underestimated the figure in the past.
“I believe we are headed for a difficult year in 2015. I think the actual deficit will be around 200 billion riyals [$53 billion] because actual revenues are expected to be lower than estimates,” Saudi economist Abdulwahab Abu-Dahesh told. “Spending in the budget is not in line with the sharp decline in oil prices,” he said.
According to the country’s Finance Ministry, the 2014 fiscal year budget is set to post a deficit of 54 billion riyals ($14.4 billion) – the first budget shortfall since 2009