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S&P holds Saudi credit rating at AA-/A-1+

By AFP - Jun 08,2014 - Last updated at Jun 08,2014

RIYADH — Standard and Poor's (S&P) held its sovereign credit rating for Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, at AA-/A-1+ with a positive outlook. "In our view, Saudi Arabia's government and external balance sheets remain strong and provide an ample buffer to withstand external shocks, including a drop in oil prices," S&P said in a statement. "We are therefore affirming our 'AA-/A-1+' sovereign credit ratings on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the agency said. "The positive outlook indicates that we could upgrade Saudi Arabia in the next year if we believe that the government has built on its achievements in private-sector development." It forecast per capita income of $26,000 in 2014. Saudi Arabia, on the back of high oil prices, has announced a balanced budget for this year of a record $228 billion, up from $218.8 billion in 2013. Separately, state media reported that Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch its first sovereign wealth fund to manage budget surpluses from a rise in crude prices estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars. The central bank has managed investment of the kingdom's foreign currency reserves until now, much of it in US Treasury bonds. The consultative shura council is due to discuss a draft law for the National Reserve Fund this week, state news agency SPA reported. 

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