Saudi Arabia's foreign assets grew by $70.83 billion during the January-August period, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency ( SAMA ) reported.
The Kingdom's foreign assets hit $613 billion at the end of August, up from $547 billion at the end of 2011.
The central bank attributed the increase to higher oil prices, which averaged more than $110 per barrel in the aforementioned period.
The country's deposits with banks abroad rose to $130.53 billion in the 8-month period, compared with $110.24 billion, while investment in foreign securities, representing nearly two thirds of the total assets, reached $424 billion, up from $380 billion.
The central bank's assets in 2011 surged by around $93.73 billion, driven by strong oil prices and a notable increase in the country's crude production to an average 9.3 million barrels per day (bpd) from approximately 8.2 million bpd.
The increase in the assets in the first eight months was in most components of the funds, with deposits with banks abroad surging from SR414 billion to SR490.2 billion. Investment in foreign securities, which account for nearly two thirds of the total assets, grew to SR1,595 billion from SR1,427.8 billion.
Experts said the sharp rise in the assets this year meant that Saudi Arabia is heading for another massive fiscal surplus for the third year running as a result of high oil prices and the country's production. According to National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia's largest bank, the surplus could exceed SR300 billion.
In 2011, SAMA 's assets leaped by about SR352 billion as a result of high oil prices and a sharp rise in the Kingdom's crude output to an average 9.3 million barrels per day from around 8.2 million bpd, an increase of 1.1million bpd.
It was the biggest annual increase in the assets since 2008, when they rocketed by a whopping SR513 billion mainly because of a 50 per cent rise in crude prices that allowed the country to record its highest fiscal surplus of SR580 billion.
The rise last year was also more than doubled the assets growth of around SR135 billion through 2010, when they ended the year at SR1,705 billion compared with SR1,570 billion at the end of 2009.
A surge in oil prices to a record high average of more than $105 a barrel allied with higher crude supplies to widen Saudi Arabia's fiscal surplus to nearly SR307 billion in 2011 from SR87 billion in 2010. Riyadh's basked in its highest fiscal surplus of nearly SR580 billion in 2008 when oil prices averaged around $95 a barrel, nearly 50 per cent above its budgeted price.
Buoyed by strong oil prices, Saudi Arabia announced a record high budget of SR690 billion for 2012 and analysts expect actual spending to end the year much higher as was the case in previous years.
The Saudi Gazette