Saudi Arabia's budget deficit dropped by 71% in the first quarter of the year, the government said Thursday (May 11th), after spending cuts and a major rebound in oil revenues, AFP reported.
The world's top crude exporter has made an aggressive push to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy after the drop in global prices since 2014 slashed its revenues.
Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan on Thursday said the deficit had dropped to 26 billion Saudi riyals ($6.93 billion) in the first three months of the 2017 fiscal year.
Saudi Arabia's budget deficit was initially projected at $53 billion for the whole year, after an even bigger deficit last year that prompted subsidy cuts, delays in projects and a temporary government salary freeze.
"This is a very encouraging figure and clearly reflects our aim to achieve a balanced budget in 2020," Jadaan said.
This is the first time that Saudi Arabia has released budget figures on a quarterly basis, a measure it says is aimed at boosting transparency.