Against a backdrop of soaring oil prices and rising production levels for Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s finance ministry, which anticipated a $10.4 billion deficit in its 2003 budget plan, is set for a pleasant surprise. An updated estimate, forecasts a 50 billion Saudi riyal ($13.3 billion) surplus in the 2003 budget, according to Said Al-Shaikh, chief economist of the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
Between February and March 2003, the Kingdom’s crude production topped nine million barrels of oil per day (bopd), and was sold for an average price of $33 per barrel. Throughout the current year and as long as the war in Iraq lasts, the OPEC major’s production is expected to remain at an average of about 8.7 million bopd.
Oil revenues of the Kingdom are therefore expected to be in the range of SR230 billion in 2003, while non-oil revenues are forecasted to reach SR46 billion. Saudi Arabia’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow two percent in 2003. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )