Saudi Arabia’s Net Foreign Assets Fall Again From Decade Low

Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped 0.8% in May from the month before, sinking further after hitting the lowest level in more than a decade.

The stockpile at the kingdom’s central bank fell by 13.65 billion riyals, according to the bank’s monthly report.

Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets declined significantly in 2020 as lower oil income strained finances and officials simultaneously transferred $40 billion to the kingdom’s sovereign fund to fuel an opportunistic investment spree.

The indicator -- which topped $700 billion in 2014 after an oil boom pumped up savings -- now stands at 1.62 trillion riyals ($432 billion). However most economists say that’s more than enough to defend the Saudi riyal’s peg to the dollar, and rising oil prices could boost the fortunes of the world’s largest crude exporter in the months ahead.

The price of Brent crude has averaged around $73 a barrel so far in June, compared to $68 in May and $65 in April.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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