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Dropping Oil Prices Lead to Drop in Saudi Credit Rating

FILE - A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 23, 2008.

Saudi Arabia saw its credit rating downgraded Saturday by Moody’s Investors Service because of the slump in world oil prices.

In a statement, Moody’s said the downgrade reflects its view that “lower oil prices have led to a material deterioration in Saudi Arabia's credit profile. A combination of lower growth, higher debt levels, and smaller domestic and external buffers leave the Kingdom less well positioned to weather future shocks.”

Moody’s noted that Saudi Arabia’s recently announced plans to diversify its economy should stabilize its credit profile and offer a route back to a higher rating.

The ratings agency said it was also lowering the credit ratings for Oman and Bahrain.

Ratings for other Gulf oil producers were unchanged. However, Moody’s said the outlook for all the economies was negative.

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