Saudi key banking indicators 'weak in August'
Riyadh, October 7, 2010
Saudi Arabia's commercial activity slowed down slightly and key banking indicators showed a weak performance in August, following the celebration of Ramadan, said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama).
Sama's data revealed that growth in bank lending to the private sector was the lowest in five months, total broad money supply dipped from July levels, and bank deposits fell almost 2 per cent. But robust oil prices averaging $77 a barrel in August, enabled the kingdom to shore up its net foreign assets to SR1.57 trillion ($419 billion) — the highest since February 2009, a report in the Arab News quoted Sama data.
Sama expects modest rates of growth in lending and money supply likely to continue for the rest of the year.
Private sector lending, excluding investments in private securities, fell to 1.7 per cent year on year in August from 3.4 per cent in July, the slowest pace of growth since March, Sama said.
Bank deposits in the kingdom fell 1.8 per cent from July to SR925.87 billion, which led to a rise in the loan-to-deposit ratio to 82.6 per cent from 80.8 percent the month earlier.
Saudi Arabian money supply (M3) fell 1.1 per cent in August from July to SR1.02 trillion, although the annual growth rate was up slightly to 2.9 per cent from July's 2.3 per cent. M2 money supply growth was higher at 6.2 per cent in August.
In August, Sama's investments in foreign securities increased by 4.9 per cent, taking their 2010 gains to 7.4 per cent. Deposits with banks abroad saw a year on year jump of almost 33 per cent.