>> Saudi Arabia's Shaybah oil field, estimated reserves of over 14 billion barrels in of the numerous jewels in the kingdom's crown. But the drop in oil prices has seen those jewels lose some sparkle, forcing the government to seek shine elsewhere. So announcing next year's budget, Saudi Arabia's finance minister said the government would boost state spending to record levels, in an effort to spur growth.
The approved expenditure for this year amounted to 1.1 trillion Rials, an increase of 7.3% over the year. Revenue for this year is estimated at 975 billion, an increase of 9%. Oil prices have steadied since Tuesday's turbulence which saw brent crude hit a 14 month low. But they're still over 30% down since the beginning of October, as supply outstrips demand.
Saudi Arabia predicts economic growth of 2.3% this year, not enough to bring down unemployment at a record 12.9%. So hopes of being pinned on foreign investment, which more than doubled in 2018, that's despite the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Kashogi. Which ministers failed to mention.>>
> Investors granted an investment license in 2018 have doubled to around 705, the number increasing to $13 billion.
That's 110% compared with 2017. The government said five sectors of the economy, including energy, are prepared for privatization early next year. A program it hopes will create up to 12000 jobs.