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Saudi King seen Need to Diversify: Less Reliance on Oil

Espousing a sea-change for his kingdom’s economic future, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud on Wednesday ordered economic reforms aimed at diversifying and reducing the nation’s reliance on income from oil. Addressing the Shura Council, a legislative committee that advises the king on significant issues, Salman explained that, “Our vision for economic reform is to increase the efficiency of public spending, utilize economic resources and boost returns from state investment.” Saudi Arabia, where oil accounts for 90% of the kingdom’s revenue, has seen petroleum prices plunge more than 60% during the past year. It has relied heavily on reserves established when oil prices were high and faces a budget deficit of about $130 billion this year according to the International Monetary Fund.