Saudi has world’s third largest financial reserves

Saudi Arabia had the world’s third largest financial reserves after China and Japan at the end of 2012 following a sharp rise in the Gulf kingdom’s assets in 2012 because of higher oil prices and output, according Saudi newspaper.


The country’s cash and gold reserves, controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency ( Sama ), central bank, surged by nearly 21.5 per cent to SR2.03 trillion ($541 billion) at the end of last year from their level at the end of 2010, the Arabic language daily Alriyadh said, quoting financial analysts in the kingdom.China had the largest reserves of nearly $3.2 trillion followed by Japan with around $1.3 trillion, the paper said, quoting well known economist Fadi Al Ajjaji.He said Saudi Arabia’s financial reserves surpassed those controlled by all Euro members by nearly 170 per cent and accounted for about 62.3 per cent of the total reserves of the European Union.He added that Saudi Arabia’s reserves were only around 0.8 per cent of the world’s total financial reserves at the end of 2001 before leaping to 5.1 per cent at the end of 2011.

“They are likely to have exceeded 6.16 per cent at the end of 2012 and could reach 6.5 per cent at the end of 2013,” he said.The paper said the surge in SAMA ‘s assets in 2012 and the previous few years was a result of a sharp rise in oil export earnings, which peaked at SR1.24 trillion, adding that this created a massive budget surplus of SR374 billion.In a recent report, Sama said its reserves shot up by a whopping SR428 billion in 2012 after the kingdom netted its highest ever income from oil exports.Oil prices averaged above $110 a barrel in 2012, nearly 50 per cent above the breakeven crude price needed by the world’s dominant oil exporter and largest Arab economy to balance its budget.

The Kingdom’s crude output also climbed to its highest annual average of 9.8 million bpd, nearly 500,000 bpd above 2011.Last year’s asset gain was the second largest rise since 2008, when they rocketed by a whopping SR513 billion mainly because of a 50 per cent rise in crude prices. The assets growth in 2012 surpassed the 2011 increase of SR352 billion and was more than double the assets increase of around SR135 billion through 2010, when they ended the year at SR1,705 billion compared with SR1,570 billion at the end of 2009.Buoyed by strong oil prices, Saudi Arabia announced a record high budget of SR820 billion for 2013 and analysts expect actual spending to end the year much higher as was the case in previous years. Revenues were put at SR829 billion, leaving a budgeted surplus of SR9bn.