Saudi Arabia’s foreign assets swelled by nearly SR258 billion (Dh255 billion) to an all time high in 2013 after surging oil export earnings allowed the world’s dominant crude exporter to record a large fiscal surplus, according to official data.
From SR2,485 billion at the end of 2012, the assets controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), central bank, soared to a record SR2,738.7 billion at the end of 2013, SAMA said in its December bulletin.
The rise meant that the assets have surged by more than SR1,000 billion since the end of 2010, when they stood at SR1,705 billion, the figures showed.
A breakdown showed the increase in 2013 was mainly a result of a sharp rise in investments in foreign securities, which shot up to a record high of SR1,952 billion at the end of 2013 from SR1,670 billion at the end of 2012.
In contrast, deposits with foreign banks shrank to nearly SR546.9 billion from SR576.4 billion in the same period while there was a rise in most other asset components.
SAMA’s assets, among the largest SWF reserves in the world, have rapidly climbed over the past few years because of strong oil prices and high Saudi crude output.
The assets recorded their largest annual increase of around SR428 billion in 2012, when Saudi Arabia is believed to have netted its highest ever oil income.
Saudi Arabia recorded a fiscal surplus of around SR206 billion in 2013 after oil and other revenues rocketed by around 36 per cent to SR1,131 billion above budgeted revenue of SR829 billion. Actual spending also grew by about 12.6 per cent to SR925 billion compared with forecast expenditure of SR821 billion.
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