High oil prices and an expected sharp rise in Saudi Arabia’s crude output will likely boost its oil export earnings to an all time high in 2012 and this will expand its fiscal surplus and foreign assets, according to local forecasts.
The world’s oil power house netted its highest crude export income of $319.3 billion in 2011 to break a previous record high level of $281 billion in 2008, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investments said in a study.
The income could climb to around $321.6 billion in 2012 as oil prices are projected to remain high and the Gulf Kingdom could hike crude output to one of its highest levels of nearly 9.6 million barrels per day.
The report projected the price of Saudi crude to average around $106.3 a barrel this year, slightly below the 2011 price of $106.5. But its 2012 oil production is forecast to be nearly 300,000 bpd above the 2011 level.
Jadwa said the surge in oil export earnings would boost the country’s public revenue to a record high of SR1,151 billion (Dh1,140 billion) in 2012, far higher than the budgeted revenue of SR702 billion (Dh695 billion)
Despite an expected sharp increase in public spending to around SR804 billion (Dh795 billion) from a budgeted SR680 billion (Dh683 billion), the Kingdom’s fiscal surplus will likely rocket to nearly SR393 billion compared with a budgeted surplus of SR12 billon.
It said the projected actual surplus this year would be the second highest after the 2008 record surplus of SR581 billion.
The report showed higher oil exports would boost Saudi Arabia’s foreign assets by more than $100 billion to a record high of around $745 billion at the end of 2012 from $634.8 billion at the end of 2011. It will also allow Saudi Arabia, which controls over a fifth of the world’s extractable oil deposits, to record its second highest current account surplus of nearly $173.1 billon this year after the peak balance of $174.5 billon in 2011.
Jadwa said the large budget surplus would also enable Riyadh to further trim its public debt to around SR115 billion at the end of 2012 from SR136 billion at the end of 2011. The debt has already been slashed to less than a third of its 2005 level of around SR475 billion.