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Saudi Arabia’s investment ministry withdraws budget data

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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Saudi Arabia’s investment ministry withdraws budget data

DUBAI (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia’s investment ministry removed fiscal data from a monthly bulletin published earlier on Monday on its website that showed the kingdom would record a budget surplus in 2023.

There was no fiscal data in an updated version of the report on the website.

A government official told Reuters that the numbers published earlier were not based on the latest 2023 fiscal data forecasts calculated by the finance ministry and were published in error.

The investment ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on why the data was removed.

Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry in December forecast a budget deficit of 82 billion riyals ($22 billion) for last year as lower crude production and prices weighed on public finances.

The kingdom ran a deficit of 44 billion riyals in the nine months to Sept 30.

Saudi Arabia in December also estimated total revenues for 2023 at 1.193 trillion riyals despite extended voluntary oil production cuts of 1 million barrels per day for much of last year and total expenditure of 1.275 trillion riyals.

The January update from the ministry had showed that Saudi Arabia recorded an estimated budget surplus of 16 billion riyals in 2023 and a large surplus in the fourth quarter before it was taken down.

($1 = 3.7497 riyals)

(Reporting by Jana Choukeir, Rachna Uppal and Pesha Magid; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Ros Russell and Cynthia Osterman)