Saudi Arabia estimates financing needs at $23 bln for 2024

Saudi Arabia estimates financing needs of about $22.93 billion (86 billion riyals) in 2024 under a borrowing plan approved by Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan, the National Debt Management Center (NDMC) said on Thursday.

The Kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, has forecast a budget deficit of 79 billion riyals in 2024, slightly smaller than a deficit of 82 billion riyals projected for last year as lower crude production and global prices reduced revenue.

But the government, tasked with implementing an economic transformation program known as Vision 2030, will also increase spending over the coming years to drive domestic growth and support non-oil GDP.

The NDMC said that the borrowing plan is expected to finance the budget deficit and the repayment of upcoming debt maturities, as well as to tap markets opportunistically as part of the country’s liability management strategy.

“Furthermore, it (the borrowing plan) is committed to leveraging market opportunities to execute alternative government financing activities that promote economic growth, such as financing development and infrastructure projects.”

Public debt is expected to reach 1.115 trillion riyals by the end of 2024, which is around 26 percent of GDP, the government has previously said.

Saudi Arabia has spent heavily on initiatives to diversify its economy from oil and gas, with strong domestic demand fueling growth and momentum in non-oil activities last year, which outpaced overall growth.

But the country remains reliant on hydrocarbon revenue to bolster public finances.

Saudi Arabia tapped debt markets for a $10 billion three-part bond in January 2023, followed by a $6 billion Islamic bond in May.

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