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Saudi minister denies plans to resort to international borrowing in 2020

A man counts Saudi riyal banknotes at a market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 3 October 2016 [Fayez Nurdeline /AFP/Getty Images]
A man counts Saudi riyal banknotes at a market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 3 October 2016 [Fayez Nurdeline /AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi Finance Minister Muhammad Al-Jadaan on Friday denied plans to resort to international debt markets again this year to compensate for the kingdom's budget deficit.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, the minister said: "We went to the local market significantly this year, we are likely to go to the market next year. There are no plans currently for an international issuance."

Al-Jadaan expected domestic spending by the sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF), to boost the local economy in the coming years.

He added that Saudi officials expect the gross domestic product (GDP) to grow from 3.1 to 3.2 per cent in 2021, after contracting 3.8 per cent this year.

"PIF is looking at where is the most optimal investment they will have," Al-Jadaan said, adding that "there are significant opportunities locally, so they are targeting local investments, but they are still investing abroad."

READ: Saudi Arabia to invest more than $5bn in artificial intelligence by 2030

According to the Saudi Ministry of Finance, public debt increased during the first nine months of this year to 847.753 billion riyals ($226.1 billion).

Saudi Arabia has also recorded a deficit of about one billion riyals ($ 49.084 billion) during the first nine months of 2020.

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