Saudi foreign assets rise to SR2.148 trillion in May

Updated 28 June 2016
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Saudi foreign assets rise to SR2.148 trillion in May

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign-currency reserves rose modestly in May for the first time in 16 months, probably due to a $10 billion syndicated loan concluded in the previous month.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency’s (SAMA) net foreign assets climbed 0.1 percent to SR2.148 trillion ($573 billion), the first gain since January 2015, according to official data. Foreign currencies and deposits abroad rose to SR744.7 billion from SR693 billion in April, while investment in foreign securities dropped, the data show.
The Kingdom agreed to terms with banks for its first sovereign loan in 15 years in April, three people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. The International Monetary Fund forecasts this year’s budget shortfall at 13.5 percent of gross domestic product.
The gain in reserves “was probably the impact of the syndicated loan that happened at the end of April,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
“They still need to turn more to the external markets to meet a significant part of their funding needs.”
While the price of Brent crude advanced 3.2 percent in May, the fourth straight monthly gain, they remain below $50 a barrel. SAMA’s foreign assets are still down $99 billion from May 2015.
“It’s good to see reserves settle, but assuming May was the month in which the funds from its $10 billion loan agreement were disbursed, the underlying trend is still clearly downward,” said Simon Williams, HSBC Holdings Plc’s London-based chief economist for central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.


Dutch carrier KLM says it will halt flights to Iran

Dutch carrier KLM. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 July 2018
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Dutch carrier KLM says it will halt flights to Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Dutch airline KLM says it will halt flights to Tehran “as a result of the negative results and financial outlook” following the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord.
The airline, part of the Air France KLM group, made the announcement in a short statement on its website Saturday.
KLM said its last flight will leave Amsterdam on Sept. 22 and return on Sept. 23.
KLM ceased flights to Tehran in 2013, resuming them in 2016 after the nuclear deal was signed. That deal saw sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for it limiting its enrichment of uranium.
In May, President Donald Trump pulled America from the atomic accord, imperiling it.
Air France resumed flights to Tehran in 2016 after an eight-year absence. The airline continues its flights.