PetroFinance: Saudis on brink of financial crisis

The economy of Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a crisis, because of growing domestic and external deficits caused by the collapse of oil prices. This is the view of Petroleum Finance Co., Washington, D.C., which estimates that the kingdom's budget deficit was more than 9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1998, with no relief expected in 1999. Inaction not an option "Faced with the prospect of increasing economic difficulties in the medium term," said PetroFinance, "and continued erosion in both its market share and oil prices, doing nothing is not an option for Saudi Arabia." Short of a significant boost to oil prices this year, combined spending cuts...

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