Saudi Arabia mulls creating $6 bln state wealth fund

DAVOS, Switzerland Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:10am EST

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is considering setting up a $6 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest the country's surplus oil wealth, but could "live without it" if there is endless debate about suspected abuses.

The world's largest oil exporter does not plan any change in its currency policy and its peg to the dollar, but "if there are changes in exports and imports, and the simultaneous precipitous decline in the dollar ... of course that's a change in circumstances," Mohammed al-Jasser, vice governor of Saudi Arabia's central bank, told Reuters in Davos, Switzerland.

On setting up a sovereign wealth fund, he said: "The finance ministry is thinking about it. But if there is endless debate about abuses, I'm sure we can live without it," he also told reporters on Thursday.

The central bank is not involved in any plans to set up a fund, he said.

(Reporting by Natsuko Waki; Editing by James Cordahi)

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