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Saudi economy shrinks over the first two half of 2017

05 October 2017

Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are heavily dependent on oil exports and the plunge of the price of crude that began in 2014 lashed both of their economies.

Saudi Arabia has posted budget shortfalls totalling more than $200 billion since 2014 and is forecast to post a budget deficit of $53 billion in 2017. Aramco said in a statement earlier this week that it expects to sign a number of preliminary business agreements with Russian businesses in oil and gas, petrochemicals, renewable energy, and advanced materials and technologies.

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The recession occurred mainly due to the oil sector, impacted by the product's low prices in the global market in the last three years.

Saudi Arabia Wednesday announced the consolidation of development funds under a unified body led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, cementing the powerful prince's position in the Gulf kingdom's affairs. The fund is expected to be finalized this week in Moscow and is created to "extend cooperation" between the world's largest oil producers.

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"We are awaiting the king's visit on Thursday", senior Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov was quoted by Russia's TASS news agency as saying on Monday, without elaborating.

Russian Federation is cutting more oil production than it agreed to under the OPEC-led arrangement. The cuts have effectively bolstered prices and are expected to be extended. Most of the region's state oil companies price their crude at a premium or discount to a benchmark. "The original optimism that the oil market might reach some kind of equilibrium in late 2017 has largely disappeared... so I expect we'll see an extension to the deal to cut output, although I expect we'll hear that at OPEC's next meeting in November".

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The 81-year-old Salman is scheduled to meet with Putin on Thursday, with the two leaders likely among other things to discuss the Syrian conflict, where Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have supported opposing sides, as they have in Yemen's civil war as well.

Saudi economy shrinks over the first two half of 2017