Higher Oil Prices Slash Saudi Deficit

The Saudi Finance Minister has announced an annual decline in the budget deficit for the first half of the year thanks to higher oil prices in the period. At US$19.39 billion (72.728 billion riyals), the first-half deficit was 51 percent lower than what the government had projected, the ministry also said. Total budget revenues in the period rose by 29 percent on an annual basis while expenditures fell by 2 percent. Over the second quarter, the deficit fell on an annual basis but rose on a quarterly basis, Reuters noted in a report of the ministry’s…