'Saudi must reduce expenditures to ease COVID-19 economic impact'

Fall in revenues will be seen further in the coming quarters as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

Saudi Arabia "must reduce expenditures" to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said.

"Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting itself from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic through any necessary financial measures despite plunging oil revenues," Xinhua news agency quoted the minister as saying in an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Saturday.

Fall in revenues expected in coming quarters

The drop in both oil and non-oil revenues will be seen further in the coming quarters, al-Jadaan noted. Last week, the Minister had said that the Kingdom would limit the amount of money it would take from its reserves to a maximum of $32 billion.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia Wikimedia Commons

Instead, Saudi Arabia would take advantage of its mostly untapped ability to borrow by issuing $60 billion of debt, he added. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said on Tuesday that foreign assets fell in March to $464 billion, the lowest in 19 years, as the Kingdom was combating the economic fallout of the global health crisis.

Taking stringent steps to contain the disease

Saudi Arabia has taken serious steps to fight the spread of coronavirus, including nationwide curfews and suspending nearly all activities. Saudi Arabia has so far reported 25,459 coronavirus cases, with 1,362 added on Saturday. The Kingdom also confirmed seven new fatalities, raising the death toll to 176.