The Saudi central bank’s foreign exchange reserves in March fell at the fastest pace in at least 20 years and reached the lowest level since 2011, Reuters writes.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) said its net foreign assets, including securities, such as US Treasury bonds and foreign deposits, fell in March to $ 464 billion, the lowest since 2011.
A reduction of almost $ 27 billion indicates the kingdom’s need to use its huge reserves to offset the collapse of oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia reported that the budget deficit in the first quarter was $ 9 billion.
Oil revenues for the first three months of 2020 decreased by 24% in annual terms to $ 34 billion, and total revenue decreased by 22% in annual terms.
Non-oil revenues in the I quarter fell by 17% compared to the same period last year.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia sold Eurobonds for $ 7 billion, following the example of other Middle Eastern states, which decided to increase debt in a pandemic and falling energy prices.
Last month, Riyadh raised its debt ceiling from 30% to 50% of GDP.