Saudi Arabia’s rare Q1 budget surplus flipped into a 1H deficit. Finances are in better shape than last year but remain vulnerable to oil price turbulence.

Saudi Arabia posted a $1.5bn deficit for the first half of 2019, down sharply from $11.1bn in the corresponding period of 2018. Latest finance ministry data show both revenue and spending are up considerably year-on-year. 2019 as a whole will almost certainly see a deficit; it will likely be much more modest than 2018’s...