Saudi Arabia's finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf. Image courtesy of Leaders Middle East/Youtube.

Saudi Arabia is expecting weak Brent prices to stretch into the new year and has shaped its 2015 budget around projections of about $60 per barrel.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, does not reveal the prices used to calculate budget revenues.

A group of analysts surveyed by Reuters pegged the kingdom’s 2015 budget price estimates at between $55 to $63 per barrel.

While Saudi Arabia frequently uses lower price forecasts when forming its budget government officials said the 2015 price projections are “realistic” rather than conservative.

“We were realistic in our estimates for next year’s revenues in light of current and expected developments in the oil market. Maybe over the past years I agree we were conservative, but this year we were realistic,” Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf told Al Arabiya television.

The country’s 2014 budget assumed prices of about $70 per barrel although prices stayed above $100 per barrel for much of the year.

The 2015 budget is the first time since 2009 that the country has dropped its oil price expectations over the previous year.

The country’s 2015 budget projects record spending of $229.3 billion, a 0.6 percent jump over 2014.

Total revenues are forecast to drop down to $190.7 billion, leaving the country with a $38.6 billion deficit.


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