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July 20, 1995| Times Staff and Wire Reports

Saudi Arabian Wheat Output Expected to Drop: Economists in the kingdom say the fall in the price of oil and a new atmosphere of austerity could reduce output of the wheat crop by half in the next few years. Some see Saudi Arabia eventually importing wheat again to meet rising demand, although others say the government sets too high a priority on self-sufficiency for that. Despite current short-term relief from unexpectedly high oil prices, most economists see a new environment of belt-tightening as here to stay. They estimate that wheat production will drop to 2 million to 2.2 million metric tons in the crop year starting next month, compared to 2.5 million tons in the year just ending.

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