Saudi Arabia is on track to more than halve its deficit this year, based on actual figures from only the second ever Finance Ministry Quarterly Budget Performance Report (for Q2). But, despite officials linking the improved performance to the nascent effects of Crown Prince Muhammad’s Vision 2030 reforms, the reduction can be entirely attributed to higher oil prices.

The Saudi H1 deficit was SR72.7bn ($19.4bn), down 51% on H1 2016. Pro-rata this implies a full year deficit of...