RIYADH: The debts of companies listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange, excluding real estate funds, increased by 45 percent last year as they borrowed to face down the pandemic and took advantage of low interest rates.
Debt reached SR1.3 trillion ($346 billion) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, up from SR899.2 billion a year earlier, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing data from the Tadawul and Saudi Capital Market Authority. On a quarterly basis, debt rose 8.1 percent.
The debt-to-assets ratio of the companies climbed to a record 21.4 percent from 15.8 at the end of 2019, the data showed.
Saudi companies have stepped up bond sales in recent months as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates near record lows.
Saudi Aramco yesterday said it completed a $6 billion dollar sukuk offering, which takes its bond issuance since 2019 to $26 billion.