Saudi posted 58-billion-dollar budget surplus in 2005

RIYADH, Nov 13, 2006 (AFP) – Oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia posted a record budget surplus of 58 billion dollars in 2005 on the back of surging crude prices while its gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.5 percent, newspapers reported Monday. In its annual report on the Saudi economy, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), or central bank, said the budget surplus amounted to 218 billion riyals (58 billion dollars) last year, they said.

GDP growth reached 6.5 percent in 2005 compared to 5.3 percent the previous year.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer and exporter, said in December 2005 it expected to post a budget surplus of 57 billion dollars for the year.

It was the third consecutive budget surplus.

The surplus reached 26 billion dollars in 2004 and 12 billion dollars in 2003.

Presenting the report to King Abdullah on Sunday, SAMA governor Hamad al-Sayari said the balance of payments surplus in current accounts rose to 338 billion riyals (90 billion dollars) in 2005 on the back of rising oil prices and non-oil exports, a leap from 195 billion riyals (52 billion dollars) the previous year.