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Saudi Arabia is reportedly trying to plug a $21 billion deficit by selling bonds

Mohammed bin Salman.
Mohammed bin Salman.Leon Neal/Getty Images
  • Saudi Arabia is raising debt to plug holes in its finances, Bloomberg reported.

  • Riyadh has pressed ahead with big spending projects as part of an economic diversification drive.

  • It now needs to cover a $21 billion fiscal shortfall, per the outlet.

Saudi Arabia plans to raise money by selling bonds as it presses ahead with massive spending projects, Bloomberg reported.

The kingdom will issue dollar-denominated three, six, and 10-year sukuk notes as part of an effort to plug a fiscal shortfall that's expected to hit $21 billion by the end of the year, the outlet reported citing an unnamed source.

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Riyadh previously sold $12 billion of sovereign debt in January, while planned desert megacity Neom has also reportedly mulled issuing Islamic bonds in a bid to raise more cash.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and French bank BNP Paribas will coordinate the bond sale, according to Bloomberg.

The latest bond sale comes as Saudi Arabia presses ahead with Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 plan that seeks to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

As part of the massive spending project, the kingdom plans to build Neom, which could ultimately cost as much as $1.5 trillion. It's also poured billions of dollars into sports, luring soccer stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Neymar to play in the local Saudi Pro League and backing the breakaway LIV Golf tournament.

In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia had started borrowing to help fund Neom and other Vision 2030 "gigaprojects."

Tim Callen, a visiting fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute think tank in Washington, estimated that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, would need to raise another $270 billion if it wanted to fully realize its ambitions.

Read the original article on Business Insider