Saudi Arabia to raise petrol prices by up to 40%

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Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said Monday it was raising petrol prices by up to 40 percent from Tuesday as it cuts a range of subsidies after posting a record budget deficit.

Prices will also increase for electricity, water, diesel and kerosene under the cuts decided by the council of ministers headed by King Salman, the official SPA news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia projected a deficit of $87 billion as it issued its 2016 budget on Monday, the kingdom’s third annual shortfall in a row due to the oil price slump.

Revenues are projected at 513.8 billion riyals ($137 billion), the lowest since 2009, according to a statement posted on the finance ministry website.

The kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, is projecting spending next year at 840 billion riyals ($224 billion), the statement said.

Saudi Arabia said it plans to review the prices of heavily-subsidised power and fuel as part of new measures introduced in the face of low oil prices.

The kingdom’s finance ministry also said it is considering plans to raise charges on public services and apply value-added tax (VAT) in cooperation with other Gulf Arab nations.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia announced Monday that it has posted a record $98 billion budget deficit in 2015 and a projected $87 billion shortfall for next year.

AFP

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