Saudi central bank extends COVID-19 loan support into 2021

Last week Central Bank governor, Ahmed al-Kholifey said there was no plan to introduce new liquidity measures

  
A Saudi money exchanger wears a protective face mask and gloves as he counts Saudi riyal currency at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 10, 2020.

A Saudi money exchanger wears a protective face mask and gloves as he counts Saudi riyal currency at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 10, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

The Central Bank of Saudi Arabia has announced an extension of the Deferred Payments Programme, which supports private sector financing, for an additional period until the end of Q1 2021.

The monetary authority said in a statement that the plan has so far impacted more than 87,000 loans with the value of the payments for those contracts amounting to about 77 billion riyals ($20.5 billion). The programme, which was launched in March 14, 2020 was due to expire in December. It is being extended to help support economic activities and growth amidst the pandemic.

According to the kingdom's General Authority for Statistics, economic activity picked up in Saudi Arabia in Q3. The economy grew by 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in the third quarter compared to a contraction of 4.9 percent in the previous quarter. Last week, Central Bank governor, Ahmed al-Kholifey, told state-owned Al Arabiya that there was no plan to introduce new liquidity measures.

Saudi Arabia recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 5,884.

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)

(seban.scaria@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2020

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