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Saudi royal priorities

A recent budget report shows challenges ahead for the Saudi economy in 2015.
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud sits before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Royal Palace in Jeddah September 11, 2014. The United States signed up Arab allies on Thursday to a "coordinated military campaign" against Islamic State fighters, a major step in building regional support for President Barack Obama's plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier. After talks in Saudi Arabia's summer capital Jeddah, Kerry won backing from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq,

The Saudi budget announced late this December keeps domestic and foreign spending high even as oil revenues plummet, a reflection of the royal family's concern about internal unrest four years after the Arab Spring. Hard choices are deferred for now.

The Saudi budget projects spending for next year at $229 billion and revenues at $190 billion, according to the Saudi Gazette. The estimated deficit will be $38.6 billion. Spending actually will rise slightly over last year while revenue has fallen due to lower oil prices. The deficit will be the largest in the kingdom's history.

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