27 Mar '11, 12am

Saudi Arabia may see inflation from social spending #saudiarabia

RIYADH - SAUDI ARABIA may see inflation from massive social spending packages announced over the past month, the kingdom's finance minister said on Saturday. Ibrahim al-Assaf said, however, that he hoped any impact would be muted from any spending. Saudi Arabia's elderly King Abdullah announced last week US$93 billion (S$117.3 billion) in social handouts, on top of another US$37 billion announced less than a month earlier, as popular protests sweep across the region. 'Any increase in spending could have an impact on inflation,' Ibrahim al-Assaf told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the capital. 'But if there is any impact we hope it is temporary and limited.' Saudi annual inflation slowed to a 10-month low of 4.9 per cent in February, with growth in housing and transport costs subsiding, though analysts said the slowdown was temporary due to robust global food...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Money/Story/STIS...

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