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12/3/16

Saudis Brace for Bankruptcy, Bring Dramatic Measures to Public Sector

A two-year drop in oil prices has inflicted a dramatic blow to the economy of one of the world’s richest countries. If no changes are made, Saudi Arabia, according to some Saudi experts, will go bankrupt in three to four years.

Since 90 percent of the kingdom's income is derived from oil exports, the price drop, from over $110 per barrel in mid 2014 to a low of just over $30 recently, is a disaster, as national monetary reserves are depleted at a  breathtaking rate.

In 2015, Saudi foreign reserves were estimated at $654.5 billion, after the Saudi monetary agency lost almost $73 billion following the oil price drop, according to a 2015 Al Jazeera report. The monetary agency also withdrew some $70 billion managed by overseas financial institutions, and the state budget deficit that year was estimated at $98 billion.

This year's budget deficit is expected to be only slightly smaller. Riyadh, in an unprecedented move, offered its first international bond sale last week, worth $17.5 billion, to bring in additional much-needed cash.

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