Saudi Arabia net foreign assets drop 1.9 percent to $436 bln in April

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Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped to $436.30 billion in April, down nearly 1.9 percent from $444.59 billion in March, central bank data showed on Monday.

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The foreign assets were also lower than $444.11 billion recorded in April 2020, the data showed.

The central bank does not disclose the reasons for the change in foreign assets. An economist said it could be linked to the kingdom supporting the investment drive of its sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“The drop is unlikely to be linked to budgetary needs, and is more likely support for investments, as we have seen last year with a $40 billion transfer to the PIF,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

The Gulf state has been financing its budget through debt issues and withdrawals of government reserves at the central bank, which last year also pumped $40 billion of foreign reserves into PIF to help fund investments.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of Saudi Vision 2030 that aims to wean the economy off oil, has said the wealth fund plans to pump at least 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) into the local economy each year through 2025.

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