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.


Oil prices mixed as producers release more supply in the market

Updated 19 July 2018
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Oil prices mixed as producers release more supply in the market

  • The US Energy Information Administration also reported US oil production reached a record 11 million barrels per day
  • US crude stocks rose by 5.8 million barrels last week, compared with a forecast of a decline of 3.6 million barrels

TOKYO: Oil prices were mixed on Thursday as the market struggled to digest signs of strong gasoline demand in the US, the world’s biggest consumer of the fuel, with a statement from oil producers that they are putting more crude on the market.
Brent crude futures fell 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $72.79 a barrel at 0401 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $68.82.
Both benchmarks rose by 1 percent on Wednesday after inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday US gasoline stockpiles fell along with supplies of distillate fuels. Motor fuel demand also rose from the week before and was up from a year earlier.
However, the EIA also reported US oil production reached a record 11 million barrels per day (bpd). The US has added nearly 1 million bpd in production since November, thanks to rapid increases in shale drilling.
Also, a meeting of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producer monitoring their supply pact reported on Wednesday that compliance with the agreement has declined, meaning more oil is available to the market.
The bullish tone sparked by the gasoline data is unlikely to last, said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at brokerage OANDA.
“President Trump is doing everything in his power to lower gasoline prices,” he said.
“With Russia quick to offer the President a supply olive branch and Saudi Arabia mainly in his back pocket when it comes to increasing their supply, its challenging to see (the) gasoline numbers turning the bearish market’s tide,” he said.
Gasoline inventories fell by 3.2 million barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, dropped by 371,000 barrels, the EIA said on Wednesday.
A Reuters poll taken before the data release had forecast that gasoline stocks would be unchanged and distillate stockpiles would show a build of around 900,000 barrels.
A sharp jump in crude oil inventories in the US also added to the bearish tone in the market.
US crude stocks rose by 5.8 million barrels last week, compared with a forecast of a decline of 3.6 million barrels.
Oil markets have fallen over the last week as Saudi Arabia and other members OPEC member and Russia have increased production and as some supply disruptions have eased.
OPEC and non-OPEC’s compliance with oil output curbs has declined to around 120 percent in June from 147 percent in May, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.