Saudi Arabia posts $15.3 billion budget surplus in first quarter as oil prices rise

Saudi Arabia recorded a budget surplus of 57.49 billion riyals ($15.33 billion) in the first three months of 2022, the finance ministry said, buoyed by a 58% increase in oil revenue as prices rose.

The data came hours after Saudi Aramco reported a nearly 82% rise in first-quarter net profit, broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts, helped by strength in oil prices and volumes.

The world’s biggest crude exporter recorded oil revenues of 183.7 billion riyals in the first quarter, compared to 116.6 billion riyals in the same period of 2021, the data showed.

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Brent prices ended the first quarter nearly 70% higher at $107.91 a barrel since late March 2021 as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine heightened oil supply concerns.

Despite rising oil revenues, Saudi government spending remained modest, up 4% year-on-year to 220.47 billion riyals in the first quarter.

“Saudi spending remains cautious year-on-year despite a marked increase in oil revenues, but we expect further support for the economy through the PIF,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, referring to the kingdom. sovereign fund.

The kingdom has increasingly relied on the PIF, with assets of over $600 billion, and other state entities to drive an ambitious spending push.

The kingdom’s total revenue was 277.9 billion riyals in the first quarter, up 36 percent year-on-year, with non-oil revenue up 7 percent to 94.26 billion riyals in the quarter.

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