August 13, 2017: the headline suggests things are going better for Saudi Arabia but data suggests Prince Salman's plan is still fantasy. From Bloomberg, data points:
- with price of oil recovering (sort of), the kingdom's total revenue climbed 6%
- income from crude oil jumped 28%
- but, revenue from non-oil sources fell by 17%
- spending dropped 1.3%
- that non-oil revenue? taxes and fees!
- despite the government’s efforts to decrease its reliance on oil income,
its share of overall revenue rose to 62 percent in the second quarter,
compared to 51 percent in the same period last year, reflecting the rise
in oil prices. Non-oil income fell in the same period largely because
of a decline in “other revenues,” which include returns on investments
by the central bank and the Public Investment Fund. Revenue collected
from customs taxes and and other taxes, including the zakat religious
levy, also declined
I track the "Prince Salman Plan" at the sidebar at the right.
The kingdom is converting thousands of square kilometers of sand into new cities as it seeks to diversify away from crude, create jobs and boost investment.
In the past month alone, the world’s biggest oil exporter has announced two major developments -- one covering an area bigger than Belgium and another almost the size of Moscow. That’s on top of plans to build a series of so-called economic cities -- special zones in logistics, tourism, industry and finance, an entertainment city and a $10 billion financial district.
The overall progress with the economic cities has been very slow, even before the collapse of the oil price,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC. “Since then, the pace of development has moderated even further with a number of projects being placed on hold.”
"The plan" has gone from "very slow" to "moderated even further with a number of projects being placed on hold."Solar energy is one of those projects being placed on hold; see earlier posts.
Bald-Faced Lie (Bold-Faced Lie?)
James Comey stated there were no records on the Bill Clinton - Loretta Lynch meeting on the tarmac. On Friday, the Justice Department released 413 pages of documents related to the meeting. Some argue that James Comey lied. Unlikely to be any media interest. I doubt it will be in his book, either.