Saudi Arabia is willing to consider funding itself partly in Chinese yuan, a senior Saudi official said Thursday, raising the possibility of closer financial ties between the two countries. The Saudi government has started borrowing tens of billions of dollars abroad in the past year to cover a big budget deficit caused by low oil prices, but its foreign bond issues and loans have been denominated entirely in US currency. Obtaining some funds in yuan could give Riyadh more financial flexibility and would mark a success for China, the biggest market for Saudi oil, in its drive to make the yuan a top international currency, according to Reuters. “One of our main objectives is to diversify the funding basis of Saudi Arabia,” Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri told a Saudi-Chinese conference in Jeddah. “We will do that through access to investors or bodies of liquidity in the markets. China is by far one of the top markets.”
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