IP- Saudi Arabia recorded a sixth straight quarterly budget deficit as increased spending on capital expenditure and other areas outpaced growth in revenue.

According to Bloomberg, the shortfall stood at 12.4 billion riyals ($3.3 billion) in the first quarter, more than four times higher than a year ago, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance on Sunday. On a quarterly basis, the deficit eased from about 37 billion riyals at the end of 2023. 

Total expenditures rose 8% year on year, while revenues expanded by 4%. Both oil and non-oil revenue climbed. 

Saudi Arabia’s budget has been in a deficit since late 2022 when the country began cutting oil production to help stabilize global prices. The kingdom has also been increasing spending as it races to complete projects and develop new industries aimed at diversifying the economy under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 agenda.

The government has forecast a budget deficit of 79 billion riyals for this year and expects to see a fiscal shortfall in 2025 and 2026.204