International ///

Despite debt, Saudi spends for the future. In many nations, governments that take on major new spending while debt is at near-record highs are considered imprudent. Yet, this appears to be exactly what Saudi Arabia intends to do. Consider some facts: The Kingdom is reeling under a nearly $35-billion foreign debt, most of that owed by Aramco and other government institutions. According to a report by Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), this debt should rise to $35.1 billion by the end of 2002. Furthermore, official figures show that Saudi is the most indebted Arab country in terms of local borrowing. The Gulf News reported that domestic debt is estimated at 630 billion riyals ($168 billion), or nearly equal to the country’s GDP.

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