RIYADH: Saudi Arabia Thursday announced it had undertaken another multi-billion dollar bond sale to finance a persistent budget deficit left by low oil prices.
The world’s top crude oil exporter raised $12.5 billion in its third international bond issue, the finance ministry said.
It comes as Saudi Arabia pursues economic and social reforms including this week’s announcement that it will end a ban on women driving.
The kingdom has already undertaken three “sukuk” Islamic bond issues this year – including one international sale – totalling around $15 billion.
Last year it raised $17.5 billion in its first global bond issue – the largest ever by a single country. Previously it had sold domestic bonds.
The latest issue was heavily oversubscribed with orders worth $40 billion, according to the finance ministry.
A slump in global oil prices resulted in massive budget shortfalls in 2014.
Saudi Arabia has posted a budget deficit in each of the past three years and is headed for a fourth year in the red in 2017.