Fitch revises Saudi outlook to negative on weakening balance sheets

DUBAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Ratings agency Fitch on Monday revised its outlook on Saudi Arabia to negative from stable, citing weakening fiscal and external balance sheets, but maintained its core ‘A’ rating.

The world’s top oil exporter, whose finances have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and lower crude prices, could see its budget deficit widen to 12.8% of GDP this year from 4.5% in 2019, reflecting a 33% drop in oil revenue, a 5% decline in non-oil revenue, and a 1% increase in spending compared to last year, said the agency.

Net foreign assets are expected to decline to 60% of GDP by 2022 from about 72% in 2019-2020, due to debt issuance and reserve drawdowns, Fitch said. (Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)