Saudi Arabia Raises $11 Billion Loan to Help Fund Deficit

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(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia raised $11 billion through a syndicated loan, the biggest globally by a government this year, as it looks to finance a budget deficit amid weaker oil revenues.

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The 10-year loan was funded by roughly 18 banks, including a handful of branches affiliated with the same parent lender, according to people familiar with the matter. Chinese banks committed roughly $5 billion, the people said.

A spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Finance didn’t respond to requests to comment.

Saudi Arabia revised its financial outlook, forecasting deficits from 2023 until at least 2026, according to a medium term budget projection published in October. The deficit comes amid weaker-than-expected oil prices, lower production from May and rising government spending as the kingdom pours hundreds of billions of dollars into a diversification drive championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and dubbed Vision 2030.

Read more: Saudi Budget Deficit Blows Out to $9.5 Billion as Revenues Slip

While part of that will be funded by oil revenue, the government also needs to attract foreign investment and borrow. At the end of the third quarter government, debt was 994 billion riyals ($265 billion).

“The authorities are looking to maintain a similar mix of external and domestic financing, and are also exploring their options in the syndicated loan market for the financing of specific projects,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists, including Farouk Soussa, said in a note this week.

Many key bodies investing in Vision 2030 projects, including the Public Investment Fund and its subsidiaries developing the new city of Neom, have already borrowed tens of billions of dollars.

Saudi Arabia’s financing marks the third consecutive year the kingdom has issued the largest syndicated loan for a sovereign nation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The loan, which has a margin of 100 basis points above the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) benchmark, is expected to sign as early as next week, the people said.

–With assistance from Boris Korby.

(Updates with full list of banks)

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