General Information & Client Service
  • Americas: +1.212.553.1653
  • Asia: +852.3551.3077
  • China: +86.10.6319.6580
  • EMEA: +44.20.7772.5454
  • Japan: +81.3.5408.4100
Media Relations
  • New York: +1.212.553.0376
  • London: +44.20.7772.5456
  • Hong Kong: +852.3758.1350
  • Tokyo: +813.5408.4110
  • Sydney: +61.2.9270.8141
  • Mexico City: +001.888.779.5833
  • Buenos Aires: +0800.666.3506
  • São Paulo: +0800.891.2518
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 Insights
News

US Agencies Propose Revisions to FFIEC Reports 031, 041, 051, and 101

US Agencies (FDIC, FED, and OCC) propose to extend for three years, with revision, FFIEC 031, FFIEC 041, FFIEC 051, and FFIEC 101.

February 21, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

OFR Adopts Data Collection Rule on Centrally Cleared Repo Transactions

OFR adopted a final rule to establish a data collection covering centrally cleared funding transactions in the U.S. repurchase agreement (repo) market.

February 20, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

FHFA Finalizes Rule on Federal Home Loan Bank Capital Requirements

FHFA published, in Federal Register, the final rule to adopt, as its own, portions of the regulations of the Federal Housing Finance Board pertaining to the capital requirements for the Federal Home Loan Banks.

February 20, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

PRA Publishes PS4/19 on Loss-Absorbency Mechanism Under Solvency II

PRA published a policy statement (PS4/19) that provides feedback on responses to the consultation paper (CP27/18) on adjusting for the reduction of loss absorbency where own fund instruments are taxed on write down under Solvency II.

February 20, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

SRB Publishes Framework for Performing Valuations in Resolution

The framework provides independent valuers and the general public with an indication of the expectations of SRB on the principles and methodologies for valuation reports, as set out in the legal framework.

February 19, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

BIS Paper on Effect of Securities Lending on OTC Market Liquidity

BIS published a working paper that studies how securities lending affects over-the-counter market (OTC) liquidity.

February 19, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

US Agencies Extend Consultation Period for the Proposed SA-CCR

US Agencies (FDIC, FED, and OCC) extended the comment period for a proposed rule to update their standards for how firms measure counterparty credit risk posed by derivative contracts.

February 18, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

FED Extends Consultation Period for Stress Testing Rule

FED has published in the Federal Register a notice proposing amendments to the company run and supervisory stress test rules.

February 15, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

EBA Single Rulebook Q&A: Third Update for February 2019

EBA published answers to two questions under the Single Rulebook question and answer (Q&A) updates for this week.

February 15, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
News

SEC Proposes Rule on Risk Mitigation Techniques for Uncleared SBS

SEC proposed a rule that would require the application of specific risk-mitigation techniques to portfolios of security-based swaps (SBS) that are not submitted for clearing.

February 15, 2019 WebPage Regulatory News
RESULTS 1 - 10 OF 2623