Saudi Arabia projects $87B deficit due to low oil prices

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia has announced a projected budget deficit in 2016 of $87 billion (327 billion riyals), as lower oil prices cut into the government's main source of revenue.

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The Saudi government has been digging into its large foreign reserves to cover the difference between its spending and revenue over the past year.

The government announced its budget on Monday, projecting spending of $224 billion (840 billion riyals) in 2016 versus $137 billion (513 billion riyals) in revenue.

In remarks broadcast on Saudi Arabia's state news channel on Monday, King Salman reassured the public at a government meeting that the priority remains developing and investing in social programs.

Benchmark U.S. crude was trading Monday at $37.46 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.



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