JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s fastest growing banking markets. According to RNCOS new research report “Saudi Arabia Banking Sector Outlook 2015”, commercial banks operating in the Kingdom are likely to be more efficient in near future on back of technological developments, and favorable government policies.
Despite the eurozone crisis, the Saudi Arabian banking industry registered an impressive growth, and it is estimated that the lending will grow at a compound annual rate of around 10 percent during 2012-2015 in the Kingdom due to liquidity and capitalization.
The report found that despite adverse economic conditions, the Saudi banks continued to expand their lending activities.
“We observed that in Saudi Arabia, the banking sector is largely dominated by corporate banking, but the retail segment is yet to take off. In the past few years, consumer loans, which earlier accounted for only less than a quarter of the total banking market, have shown a significant growth.
Forecasts for key banking segments, like loans, and deposits, have also been presented to help clients know the direction in which the Saudi banking sector is likely to proceed in the coming years.
The report also studied how infrastructure development, growing automobile sector, and modern technologies are helping the industry reach new heights. The in-depth research revealed that people nowadays use credit cards, and other banking facilities.
Moreover, most of the banks have started offering the Islamic banking facilities to the religious people. The study also analyzed the payment system, and extensively covered the performance and status of bank cards, ATMs, POS terminals and branches.
Meanwhile, bilateral trade between the US and Saudi Arabia reached $25.85 billion (SR96.94 billion) for the first four months of 2012, US Census Bureau said.
Year-to-date bilateral trade has increased 51.8 percent in 2012 over the same period in 2011. The three largest exports to Saudi Arabia were vehicles; industrial machinery; and aircraft, spacecraft, and related parts.
Together, these three categories comprise 64.1 percent of total exports to the Kingdom. While Texas is still the largest state exporter, Washington moved into the second position from its rank of 10 for the same period in 2011. Aside from oil, the largest US imports were organic chemicals, fertilizers, and precious stones and metals. — SG