Featured Product

    IMF Reports on the 2018 Article IV Consultation with Saudi Arabia

    August 24, 2018

    IMF published its staff report and selected issues report under the 2018 Article IV consultation with Saudi Arabia. Directors agreed that increasing small and medium enterprise finance, improving financial sector access, and developing the debt market are priorities. They welcomed the efforts of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to strengthen liquidity management and encouraged the authorities to continue to strengthen the effectiveness of their Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism framework.

    The staff report states that increasing financial development and inclusion while maintaining financial stability are key policy priorities. Reforms to strengthen liquidity management should continue, while macro-prudential policies can be used countercyclically within a well-defined framework. Moreover, legal reforms have advanced considerably over the past year. The new insolvency law is expected to go into effect in August. The authorities explained that all government licensing and regulatory requirements are being reviewed, streamlined, and automated, including enabling online, rather than in person, applications. Staff welcomed the authorities’ focus on financial development and inclusion as set out in the recent Financial Sector Development Program. Significant equity market reforms have been implemented by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the authorities are now working to develop the domestic debt market. SAMA noted the progress made in implementing the recommendations from the 2017 financial system stability assessment (FSSA). Additionally, Appendix V to the report summarizes the progress in implementing the key 2017 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) recommendations.

    Staff agreed with SAMA that banks are well-positioned to weather negative asset quality and liquidity shocks. Reported nonperforming loans increased only modestly during 2017 to reach 1.6% of loans (1.4% at end-2016), the risk-weighted capital ratio increased to over 20%, and returns on assets and equity increased as interest margins rose. The introduction of IFRS 9 will result in a manageable increase in provisions for banks and SAMA will need to continue to carefully monitor banks’ approach to loan classification. SAMA has actively employed macro-prudential tools. SAMA explained that it has used the loan-to-deposit ratio, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and the risk-weight on mortgage loans to avoid what it viewed as an unnecessary tightening of credit conditions. Staff agreed that macro-prudential instruments should be used countercyclically within a clear framework, but raised some questions about the recent increase in the LTV ratio for first-time home owners to 90% (from 85%), which is quite high by international standards, at a time when retail mortgage lending is growing strongly. SAMA responded that the risks to financial stability from this change are extremely limited given the low average LTV ratio, the small share of mortgage lending in banks’ portfolios, and very low mortgage default rates. 

    The selected Issues report highlights that the banking sector dominates the financial system. The commercial banks include 12 domestic banks (four of which have large public-sector ownership) and 12 foreign banks (1% of total assets), with the four largest banks representing 55% of banking system assets. SAMA has developed guidelines for mapping the risk profile of Islamic products to the Basel framework and the guidelines are being consulted upon with banks. Bank cross-border exposures in funding and lending are limited and regionally diversified. The report also goes on to discuss the capital market reforms and fintech initiatives in Saudi Arabia. 

     

    Related Links

    Keywords: Middle East and Africa, Saudi Arabia, Banking, Securities, Article IV, FSAP, FSSA, IMF

    Related Articles
    News

    OSFI Publishes Instruction Guide on Solvency Information Return

    OSFI published an instruction guide to assist administrators of pension plans in completing the Solvency Information Return that is required to be filed with OSFI.

    January 17, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    EU Amends IFRS 9 Rule, Changes Concern Interest Rate Benchmark Reforms

    EU published Regulation 2020/34 regarding the International Accounting Standard (IAS) 39 and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 7 and 9.

    January 16, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    FDIC and OCC Issue Statement on Heightened Cyber Security Risk

    In response to the heightened cyber-security risk facing the financial services industry and other critical business sectors, FDIC and OCC issued an interagency statement on heightened cyber-security risk.

    January 16, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    BCRA Updates Regulation on Capital Requirements and Information Regime

    BCRA updated the rules on minimum capital requirements for financial entities and on certain aspects of the information transparency regime for quarterly and annual supervision.

    January 16, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    BoE and FCA Outline Next Steps for LIBOR Transition in 2020

    BoE, FCA, and the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates (RFRWG) have published a set of documents that outline the LIBOR transition priorities and milestones for 2020.

    January 16, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    BIS to Expand Central Bank Membership

    BIS is to expand its central bank membership base and to increase collaboration in its work as a forum for international cooperation and as a hub for central banks and other financial authorities.

    January 14, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    EIOPA Issues Technical Specifications for Market and Credit Risk Study

    EIOPA published the technical specifications, including instructions, for the market and credit risk modeling comparative study for year-end 2019.

    January 13, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    FED Publishes FAQs on Tailoring Rules for Banks

    FED released a letter announcing the publication of an initial set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in response to questions from institutions.

    January 13, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    IA of Hong Kong Publishes Stress Testing Scenarios in Relation to ORSA

    IA of Hong Kong published the prescribed scenarios for stress and scenario testing to be used by the authorized insurers conducting general insurance business.

    January 13, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    News

    ISDA Paper Examines Legal Aspects of Smart Contracts Using Blockchain

    ISDA published a paper that discusses legal aspects of smart derivatives contracts that use the distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is also commonly known as the blockchain technology.

    January 13, 2020 WebPage Regulatory News
    RESULTS 1 - 10 OF 4505