Saudi oil revenue could decline $38.67 billion as coronavirus plunges demand: Report

A picture taken on March 23, 2020, shows the empty King Fahd road in the Saudi capital Riyadh after authorities imposed a curfew. (File photo: AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s government oil revenue could decline by 145 billion riyals ($38.67 billion) as the coronavirus plunges global demand for crude, according to a report from Saudi bank Al Rajhi Capital.

The world’s top oil producers agreed Sunday to a historic deal that should lead to a decrease in oil production by about 20 percent.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia, and others, a group known as OPEC+ agreed to cut 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd). Saudi Arabia will cut its production to 8.5 million bpd.

According to estimates from Al Rajhi Capital, production cuts will result in 342 billion riyals in oil revenue, which equates to a shortfall of 145 billion riyals when compared to the predicted revenue of 487 billion riyals. Al Rajhi estimated crude oil futures prices at $40 per barrel for 2020 in their analysis, while Brent crude was hovering around $32 per barrel on Monday.

The problems that would arise due to a shortfall in revenue would be dampened by cost-cutting measures the government has put in place, the bank said. Authorities took precautionary financial measures, including cutting the 2020 Saudi budget by around 50 billion riyals, or 5 percent, on March 18 as the economic impact of the coronavirus became apparent.

“We believe there are likely more areas for the government to lower expenditure,” the report read.

Another buffer from potential problems is the Kingdom’s low debt-to-GDP ratio, meaning the government has the ability to easily increase borrowing to finance any shortfalls.

Saudi Arabia has reported 4,462 coronavirus infections, with 59 dead and 761 recoveries. Most of those infected receiving medical care are in stable condition, a health ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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