Saudi Arabia’s central bank governor ‘does not see more bank mergers’

Saudi’s central bank governor, Ahmed Al-Kholifey, says he doesn’t believe there will be any deflation. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 24 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s central bank governor ‘does not see more bank mergers’

  • Kholifey says he doesn't expect there to be any deflation
  • Data released last week showed that Saudi Arabias annual consumer price index fell 1.9% in January

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s central bank does not see more bank mergers for the time being beyond those already announced, its governor Ahmed Al-Kholifey said on Sunday.
His comments came after National Commercial Bank, the Kingdom’s biggest lender by assets, and Riyad Bank said in December they had begun preliminary talks to potentially create a combined group with $183 bln in assets.
That move came two months after Saudi British Bank (SABB) and smaller rival Alawwal Bank agreed a binding deal to create Saudi Arabia’s third-biggest lender in the first major tie-up for the country’s banking sector in recent times.
Kholifey also told reporters he does not expect deflation in Saudi Arabia thanks to consumer demand and real estate loans. He said liquidity was strong.
“I don’t think there will be any deflation, all data reflect optimism, we will soon publish real estate financing and you will see a big leap, and as you know real estate is one of the main drivers, as for the consumer sector it is active,” he said.
Data released last week showed that Saudi Arabias annual consumer price index fell 1.9 percent in January from a year earlier as housing, water and energy prices all dropped.
This was the first fall in prices in Middle East’s biggest economy since 2017. Prices had continued to rise throughout 2018 after the introduction of a value-added tax.


China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia up 43%

Updated 25 May 2019
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China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia up 43%

  • Imports grew to 1.53 million barrels per day compared with 1.07 million a year ago
  • Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s top state-owned refiners, are halting Iranian oil purchases for loading in May, three people with knowledge of the matter said

BEIJING: China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose 43 percent in April, making the Middle Eastern OPEC kingpin once again the top supplier to the world’s second-biggest economy, boosted by demand from new private refiners.
Saudi imports grew to 6.30 million tons, or 1.53 million barrels per day (bpd) on a daily basis, compared with 1.07 million bpd in the year ago period, according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Saturday.
Saudi shipments were supported by higher refinery run rates at Hengli Petrochemical Co. Ltd, with production at the 400,000 bpd-capacity refinery in northeast China expected to reach optimal levels in late June. About 70 percent of the feedstock for Hengli came from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile Russian supplies were 6.12 million tons, or 1.49 million bpd, up from 1.35 million bpd in April last year.
China in April imported 3.24 million tons of crude oil from Iran, or 789,137 bpd, up from March’s 541,100 bpd, as companies ramped up buying before the scrapping of sanctions waivers the US had granted to big buyers of Iranian oil.
China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec Group) and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country’s top state-owned refiners, are halting Iranian oil purchases for loading in May, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
Venezuela shipments stood at 1.9 million tons, or 462,813 bpd in April, up 85 percent versus 249,700 bpd in March, while crude imports from Iraq were 3.31 million tons, or 806,372 bpd, down from 904,500 bpd the previous month.