Saudi king extends allowances as living costs rise

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Salman has extended monthly allowances for government employees, military personnel, pensioners, social security recipients and students into next year.

The announcement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday, comes on the same day the kingdom's 2019 budget is scheduled to be unveiled. The government will also release its deficit for this year as lower oil prices squeeze its main source of revenue.

The royal decree extends a monthly payout of 1,000 Saudi riyals ($266) for civil servants and soldiers for another year. Retirees and students will also receive continued allowances.

Many Saudi citizens are feeling the pinch of austerity measures from new taxes on goods and businesses. Saudis have also seen their electricity and water bills skyrocket as subsidies are reduced.