Reuters says that analysts expected the drop in profit to be slightly lower, but predicted different dividend policy. They had expected Saudi Aramco to pay dividends to minority shareholders in the planned amount while reducing payout to Saudi government. In the end, the oil giant decided to fulfill its commitments.
Due to fall in oil demand and coronavirus pandemic, Saudi economy has suffered a profit plunge. Brent oil prices had dropped in more than 60% in the first quarter, even before OPEC+ members agreed on oil production cuts in almost 10 million barrel a day. As many anti-pandemic measures finally ease during May, the global economy, as well as oil demand, could experience recovery. Yet, once oil demand returns, miners first have to wait until oil reserves are used up, as capacities of stored oil reached record-high values.