Saudi Ara­bia's net for­eign as­sets fall to four-year low in April

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Saudi Ara­bia's net for­eign as­sets fell for a 15th month in April, as the king­dom an­nounced its "vi­sion" for a post-oil fu­ture.

The Saudi Ara­bian Mon­e­tary Agency said on Sun­day net for­eign as­sets de­clined 1.1 per­cent to $572 bil­lion, the low­est level in four years. The slump in crude prices has forced the gov­ern­ment to sell bonds and draw on its cur­rency re­serves, still among the world's largest. Net for­eign as­sets fell by $115 bil­lion last year, when the king­dom ran a budget deficit of nearly $100 bil­lion.

The fis­cal crunch has pushed Saudi Ara­bia's rulers to look beyond oil , con­sider new taxes, and plan an initial pub­lic of­fer­ing of state gi­ant Saudi Ara­bian Oil Co. Deputy Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man sketched out the planned changes dubbed Saudi Vi­sion 2030 on April 25.

The strain on re­serves has also fu­eled spec­u­la­tion that the king­dom will ad­just its decades­old riyal peg to the dol­lar. New cen­tral bank Gov­er­nor Ahmed Alkho­lifey told Al-Ara­biya on Thurs­day that Saudi Ara­bia doesn't plan to change its ex­change rate pol­icy.

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