Saudi king says budgets will keep rising
Riyadh, January 17, 2011
Top Opec exporter Saudi Arabia will keep increasing annual budgets to diversify its oil-based economy and invest in infrastructure, King Abdullah said in remarks published on Monday.
'Fiscal budgets in future years will not decrease but rise and rise,' Abdullah told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah.
It was the monarch's first interview since leaving for medical treatment in New York on November 22 after a blood clot complicated a slipped disk.
King Abdullah said he is well and will return home very soon. 'I want to assure everybody that I'm well and I will return soon, very soon to the kingdom,' Abdullah said.
Last month, Saudi Arabia, a member of the G20, said it would spend 580 billion riyals ($155 billion) in 2011, its third straight record budget for planned spending.
Abdullah gave no spending figures but said policy focus is to keep building up industries outside the oil sector and improving infrastructure in the biggest Arab economy, which is rolling out a $400 billion stimulus until 2013.
Saudi Arabia controls more than a fifth of the world's crude oil reserves and is a major investor in US government bonds. - Reuters