Saudi central bank May net foreign reserves drop to $672 bln

A Saudi money changer counting Saudi Riyals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (File Photo: Reuters)

Net foreign assets at Saudi Arabia's central bank fell to 2.521 trillion riyals ($672.2 billion) in May, down by $6.6 billion or 1.0 percent from the previous month as the kingdom continued to draw down reserves to cover a budget gap caused by cheap oil.

Assets dropped by 8.1 percent from a year earlier to their lowest level since April 2013, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

The central bank serves as the country's sovereign wealth fund, storing its earnings from oil exports. Assets' year-on-year drop is partly due to the strong U.S. dollar, which has cut the value of the portion denominated in non-dollar currencies, but a major part is due to a fiscal drawdown, analysts say.

Assets fell by $11.8 billion in April from the previous month, by $16.0 billion in March and by $20.2 billion in February. They peaked at a record $737 billion last August.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48