Saudi Arabian economy will remain on the recovery path, amid higher oil revenues and the government’s commitment to support the non-oil sector, said Al Rajhi Capital, a top financial services provider in the kingdom, in a new report.

Saudi Arabia’s economy especially on the consumer spending front seems to be relatively stable amidst weak global data points, according to the company’s latest Economic Research report.

POS transactions continued its robust rise in July (+18.7 per cent y-o-y; +9.8 per cent m-o-m), driven by the ‘Restaurants and Hotels’, ‘Food & Beverages’ and ‘Clothing & Footwear’ segments; whereas ATM withdrawals recorded a drop (-0.4 per cent y-o-y; +16.1 per cent m-o-m) in July.

Money supply increased by 4.7 per cent y-o-y in July. Remittances from Saudi nationals rose for the fourth month in a row (+20.1 per cent y-o-y) in July, whereas transfers from non-Saudi nationals declined (-5.9 per cent y-o-y) in the same month.

Meanwhile, the cost of living index continued to be in the deflation territory in July (-1.3 per cent y-o-y; +0.1 per cent m-o-m), owing to a decline in the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas’ sector which constitutes around a quarter of the index.

Saudi Arabian lending continued its upward journey in July helped by mortgage loan growth. Further, deposits also increased (+3.7 per cent y-o-y; -0.7 per cent m-o-m) in July. Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s (Sama) foreign reserves grew, although at a slower pace (+0.5 per cent y-o-y; -1.8 per cent m-o-m) in July; as recent debt issuances by the government has curbed its need to tap foreign reserves in order to plug the fiscal deficit.

Moody’s believes that Saudi Arabia will drive global sukuk issuance in 2019. With low debt to GDP ratio (~19 per cent in 2018; Source: IMF), Saudi Arabia has enough buffer to raise additional debt to support its fiscal spending. – TradeArabia News Service

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