RIYADH: Finance companies’ loans to the Saudi mining and quarrying sector surged 60 percent to SR237.1 million ($63 million) in the second quarter from SR148.2 million during the same period last year, revealed the data released by Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.
Credit to the sector, which constitutes 1.4 percent of the overall loan disbursals from finance companies, increased 45 percent from SR163.6 million in the first quarter.
“Mining and quarrying is a capital-intensive activity. These companies would typically take bigger ticket facilities from the banks or even through capital markets,” Jarmo Kotilaine, an economist and strategist focusing on the Gulf region, told Arab News.
The increase in lending could be attributed to the heightened interest among finance companies to diversify lending but also by businesses to explore new sources of funding as credit conditions tighten, pointed out Kotilaine.
Credit to the transportation and communications sector increased 10.9 percent to SR1.9 billion in the second quarter from SR1.7 billion in the quarter ending March.
Moreover, the sector showed the highest recorded increase since the first quarter of 2018, the earliest data recorded by the SAMA table. It also more than doubled from SR1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2021, constituting 10.8 percent of total loans in this quarter.
“I suspect something similar is going on with transportation and communication. However, since we are talking about figures returning to pre-COVID levels, this could reflect normalization or the post-pandemic rebound,” Kotilaine added.
According to the SAMA data, finance companies directed most of the lending during the second quarter toward the building and construction sector at 24.4 percent, followed by commerce at 22.2 percent and services at 16.7 percent.
Moreover, the loan disbursals to the services sector increased 7.6 percent to SR2.9 billion in the second quarter from SR2.7 billion between January and March.
Loans to building and construction activity escalated 6.28 percent to SR4.3 billion between April and June from SR4 billion in the first quarter.
Commerce loans increased 3.6 percent to SR3.9 billion in the second quarter from SR3.8 billion in the first quarter.
“Other” loans, which hold 11.7 percent of the total loan pie, declined by 26.7 percent to SR2.1 billion this quarter.
Similarly, lending to electricity, water, gas and health services decreased by 4.7 percent from SR619.9 million to SR590.6 million.
Overall, total loans by finance companies to non-retail economic activities remained nearly the same, increasing by only 0.32 percent from SR17.5 billion to SR17.6 billion, the lowest growth rate in the past seven quarters.
The percentage reported in the story was calculated after rounding off the values in the period under review.