Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan has announced plans for an expansionary budget in 2018, following IMF recommendations to ease the pace of fiscal consolidation.

The decision comes in light of the recent contraction of Saudi economic growth due to low oil prices and austerity measures.  The Ministry is reportedly preparing a three-year SAR200bn stimulus programme, and Mr Jadaan said he hoped that the first SAR40bn of the package would be strengthened by the approval of a second larger phase by the end of the year.   It is hoped that the stimulus will give a much-needed boost to the private sector, and provide further jobs to tackle the current 12.8% unemployment rate.