The situation described above has caused the Saudis to tap the debt market to help fill the gap and indeed, some estimates show the country’s currently negligible debt-to-GDP ratio climbing by a factor of 10 by the end of next year.
But make no mistake, all of the above should not be mistaken as a suggestion that the Saudis aren’t rich - very rich, and if you had any doubts about that, consider the following description from Politico of King Salman's arrival in Washington for his first meeting with President Obama:
In anticipation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia’s stay, the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown has done some redecorating — literally rolling out red carpets in order to accommodate the royal’s luxurious taste.
Eyewitnesses at the property have seen crates of gilded furniture and accessories being wheeled into the posh hotel over the past several days, culminating in a home-away-from-home fit for the billionaire Saudi monarch, who is in Washington for his first White House meeting with President Barack Obama tomorrow.
“Everything is gold,” says one Four Seasons regular, who spied the deliveries arriving at the hotel. “Gold mirrors, gold end tables, gold lamps, even gold hat racks.” Red carpets have been laid down in hallways and even in the lower parking garage, so the king and his family never have to touch asphalt when departing their custom Mercedes caravan.
Read the rest here...