A flame from a Saudi Aramco oil installion known as "Pump 3" is seen in the desert near the oil-rich area of Khouris, 160 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on June 23, 2008. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI
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Saudi Arabia's oil-fueled economic boom is showing signs of losing steam.The government is moving ahead with spending plans that will widen the budget deficit to 20 percent of economic output, the International Monetary Fund says, fueling speculation it will tap debt markets to plug the gap.Bank credit to private businesses and consumers grew 9.5 percent in April, the slowest pace in four years.Non-oil GDP growth, which averaged 7 percent between 2000 and 2011, will slow to 4.5 percent in 2015, the IMF predicts.Still, the backdrop of the decline in oil prices will likely make prices relative to corporate earnings cheaper, Kitchen said.The ratio dropped to less than 2 percent last year as the government used revenue from high oil prices to reduce its debt.
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