In a new shocking report, Saudi Arabia has withdrawn as much as $70 billion from global asset managers as OPEC’s largest oil producer seeks to plug its budget deficit, according to financial services market intelligence company Insight Discovery. “Fund managers we’ve spoken to estimate SAMA has pulled out between $50 billion to $70 billion from global asset managers over the past six months,” Nigel Sillitoe, chief executive officer of the Dubai-based firm, said by telephone Monday. “Saudi Arabia is withdrawing funds because it’s trying to cut its widening deficit and it’s financing the war in Yemen,” he said, declining to name the fund managers.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to halt the erosion of its finances after oil prices halved in the past year. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s reserves held in foreign securities have fallen about 10 percent from a peak of $737 billion in August 2014, to $661 billion in July, according to central bank data. The government is accelerating bond sales to help sustain spending. “Foreign-exchange reserve depletion, rather than accumulation, is the new reality for Saudi Arabia,” Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist at Capital Economics, said in an e-mailed note Monday. “None of this should come as much surprise,” given the current-account deficit and risk of capital flight, he said. FULL REPORT