The oil kingdom is facing a big hole in its budget, caused by the slump in oil prices and a sharp rise in military spending. That’s forcing the government to raid its reserves, and it may even borrow from foreign investors, analysts say.
Saudi Arabia has already burned through almost $62 billion of its foreign currency reserves this year, and borrowed $4 billion from local banks in July — its first bond issue since 2007.
Its budget deficit is expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2015. That’s extraordinarily high for a country used to running surpluses. Capital Economics estimates that government revenues will fall by $82 billion in 2015, equivalent to 8% of GDP. The IMF is forecasting budget deficits through 2020.