Saudi foreign minister defends deficit spending as manageable after credit rating downgrade

MANAMA, Bahrain – Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat says the kingdom can manage its deficits despite a steep drop in oil prices, a day after a leading rating agency cut the country’s credit rating.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the comments Saturday at a security conference in Bahrain, saying “the deficits the kingdom will be running this year are manageable.”

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Saudi Arabia’s credit rating by one notch from “AA-” to “A+” and said the credit outlook for the kingdom remains negative.

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Ministry strongly disagreed with the decision, describing it as “reactionary” and driven by fluid market conditions rather than the economic fundamentals.