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Saudi Arabia may cut energy subsidies more gradually and take longer to balance its budget, Finance Minister Mohammad al-Jadaan said, as the kingdom seeks to soften the impact of budget repair moves. The prices of some subsidized domestic energy products will rise to international levels later than previously envisaged, Jadaan said in an interview in Washington Thursday, where he is attending the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting. Under the latest subsidy plans, the prices of some energy products might fall short of international levels this year, but would be gradually increased "over a longer period of time," Jadaan said.The government will also accelerate its 200 billion riyal ($53 billion) stimulus program to boost growth, Jadaan said. Spending under that program will rise 12 billion riyals to 72 billion riyals in 2018, Jadaan added.
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