The leading oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, would need oil sold between $ 80 and $ 85 a barrel to balance its budget this year, said a senior official of the International Monetary Fund.

Riyadh's break-even oil price depends on several factors, including the level of oil production, the amount of Saudi oil revenue transferred to the budget, and the non-oil revenue yield this year.

"But if you take the budget (2019) as it is presented, all else being equal, a break-even point would be around $ 80 to $ 85," Jihad Azour, director of the IMF department, told Reuters in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Crude oil prices fell more than 30% after peaking at $ 86 a barrel in October. The benchmark Brent was trading at around $ 62 a barrel on Monday.

This price volatility has had an impact on public finances and the economic growth of all oil exporting countries.

"This will not affect their ability to finance themselves, because Saudi (bond) spreads are very tight, but it does have an impact on the fiscal accounts," Azour said.

Saudi Arabia has increasingly borrowed on the international debt markets after the fall in oil prices from mid-2014, which affected its revenues.

Azour said that the increase in Saudi Arabia's debt was not worrying, especially in relation to its foreign exchange reserves and in light of the positive sentiment of investors, as evidenced by the low spreads on bond rates.

After years of fiscal consolidation and weak growth, Riyadh plans to increase state spending this year to revive the economy. Expenditures are expected to reach an unprecedented peak of 1.106 billion riyals ($ 294.92 billion) out of an actual total of R.030 trillion in 2018.

Azour said the Saudi government "can afford" the additional stimulus, but that its top priority should continue to balance the budget by 2023.

Riyadh expects its budget deficit to fall to 131 billion riyals this year from 136 billion riyals last year.

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