Saudi records $20-B surplus as oil revenues surge
The Manila Times
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said Thursday (Friday in Manila) it had achieved a rare budget surplus of over $20 billion in the second quarter of 2022, as oil revenues surged 90 percent compared to a year ago. Despite being among the world’s top crude exporters and the largest Arab economy, Saudi Arabia has failed to balance its books since the 2014 oil price slump, forcing the Gulf state to borrow to make up for shortfalls. In the second quarter of 2022, Saudi Arabia earned more than it spent, with a surplus of 78 billion riyals ($20.8 billion), the finance ministry said. The surplus is largely due to oil revenues rising to more than 250 billion riyals, compared to around 132 billion during the same period in 2021, a jump of 89 percent. Saudi Arabia has benefited from both an economic bounce after restrictions imposed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic were eased and then again as oil prices surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In December, Saudi Arabia approved its 2022 budget projecting a surplus for the first time since oil prices slumped in 2014. Economists had said the kingdom needed a crude price of around $80 a barrel to balance the budget. Prices have exceeded $100 in recent months, though they have since fallen. On Wednesday, the OPEC+ oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, decided to undertake a small production increase for September.