Nearly half of people living in Saudi Arabia do not save anything, survey finds

Updated 13 April 2018
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Nearly half of people living in Saudi Arabia do not save anything, survey finds

  • Nearly half of all people living in Saudi Arabia have no savings
  • Just 17% of people in the Kingdom have saved less than 5% of their income

JEDDAH: Some 45 per cent of people living in Saudi Arabia do not save any money at all out of their monthly income, according to a new survey of attitudes towards saving and investment among residents in the Kingdom.

The survey, conducted by the Jeddah based wealth management firm SEDCO Holdings and Dubai-based online finance group Souqamal.com, found that most respondents blamed a low level of income for their failure to put money aside.

It also found that only a further 17 percent saved less than 5 percent, while 38 percent saved more than 6 percent.

The results come as the Ministry of Housing is asking Saudis to save for a deposit on their future home. It finds a lack of a savings culture that makes this goal difficult.

Amr Banaja, a SEDCO executive, said: “Anyone should be able to achieve what they aspire for financial without resorting to borrowing or depriving themselves of what they desire. One can do this by properly managing their finances, shunning needless expense, and choosing appropriate saving and investment opportunities.”

When asked about the reason behind their failure to respond, 60 percent said their level of income prevented it. Since 2014, official statistics show that the average levels of income have risen by 13 percent in the private sector, and 6 percent in government employment, the survey compilers said.

The survey raises the question of whether the cost of living in the Kingdom has risen faster than salaries. According to official figures inflation rose by 7.6 percent between 2014 and 2016. It fell to near zero last year, but jumped again at the beginning of this year, with the introduction of value added tax.

The last official figures showed consumer prices rose 2.7 percent in February, marginally down from the 3 percent of January.

The survey also found that 83 percent of respondents have no long term investment plans, showing a lack of awareness of investment techniques and practices.

Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Souqamal, said: “Saving and investment should go hand in hand. Start with a monthly budget and figure out what your basic necessities are that you can save every month.”

SEDCO has launched the Riyali financial literacy program to make people aware of the basics of investment.

The survey was conducted among 2,000 respondents, which included Saudi citizens and expatriates, in line with the Kingdom’s demographics.


Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

Updated 24 April 2018
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Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

  • US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents
  • The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is pushing prices higher

SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil rose for sixth day on Tuesday, passing $75 a barrel, on expectations that supplies will tighten because fuel is rising at the same time the US may impose sanctions against Iran and OPEC-led output cuts remain in place.
Brent crude oil futures climbed to as high as $75.20 a barrel in early trading on Tuesday, the highest since Nov. 27, 2014. Brent was still at $75 a barrel at 0311 GMT up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from its last close.
Brent’s six-day rising streak is the most since a similar string of gains in December and it is up by more than 20 percent from its 2018 low in February.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last settlement. On Thursday, WTI rose to as high as $69.56, the most since Nov. 28, 2014.
Markets have been lifted by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market.
The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is also pushing prices higher.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA said new sanctions against Tehran “could push oil prices up as much as $5 per barrel.”
The US has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer, which would further tighten global supplies.
“Crude prices are now sitting at the highest levels in three years, reflecting ongoing concerns around geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which is the source of nearly half of the world’s oil supply,” ANZ bank said.
“Oil strength is coming from Saudi Arabia’s recent commitment to get oil back up to between $70 to $80 per barrel as well as inventory levels that are back in the normal range,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
OPEC’s supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring just as demand in Asia, the world’s biggest oil consuming region, has risen to a record as new and expanded refineries start up from China to Vietnam.
One of the few factors that has limited oil prices from surging even more is US production, which has shot up by more than a quarter since mid-2016 to over 10.54 million barrels per day (bpd), taking it past Saudi Arabia’s output of around 10 million bpd.
As a result of its rising output, US crude is increasingly appearing on global markets, from Europe to Asia, undermining OPEC’s efforts to tighten the market.