Saudi Arabia’s public debt recorded the first quarterly decrease since the first quarter of 2017 — as far back as historic figures are available — data from a recent quarterly report by the Ministry of Finance show.

The fall in public debt was driven mainly by the SR20.7 billion ($5.52 billion) repayment of external debt.

The external issuances and borrowings by the Kingdom during the fourth quarter of 2021 totalled SR12.2 billion, while the repayment of principal over the same period amounted to SR20.7 billion. 

As a result, the Kingdom's external debt decreased by SR8.5 billion to SR379.3 billion at the end of 2021 from SR387.8 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2021.

Domestic debt also decreased — though relatively slightly by SR1.8 billion — to S558.7 billion from SR560.6 billion, respectively.

As a result, the Kingdom's public debt fell by SR10.3 billion to SR938 billion as of 31 December 2021 from SR948.3 billion as of 30 September 2021.

On a year-on-year basis however Saudi Arabia's public debt grew in 2021 by SR84.5 to SR938 billion. The annual net increase in domestic debt totaled SR56.1 billion, almost doubling the SR28.4 billion increase in external debt over the same period.

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