RIYADH: Saudi banks raised their investment in securities to support a cash-hungry private sector in April, according to a fresh set of official data that also showed a continued decline in money supply.
M3 growth, one factor potentially influencing inflation, slowed for a seventh straight month in April to 2.6 percent — the lowest in at least 7 years — against 4.6 percent in March as customers cut rewarded deposits with banks faster than in the previous month, central bank data showed on Sunday.
Time and savings deposits — M3’s second biggest component — fell by almost 41 billion riyals — or 11.7 percent — in the 12 months to end-April while their annual fall was about 10 percent in March.
Demand deposits, — M3’s biggest component —, meanwhile added 71.5 billion riyals or 18.5 percent in the 12 months to end-April.
Bank claims on the private sector added just 23.2 billion riyals — or 3.2 percent — in the 12 months to April to a total of 750.6 billion riyals, which is the highest since the 748.8 billion riyals of November, 2009, the previous record.
A breakdown of these claims shows however that much of their growth came from investment in private securities which grew 41.4 percent — or by 8.8 billion riyals — to a record 29.9 billion riyals in the 12 months to end-April.
In the meantime bank credit to the private sector totaled 720.7 billion riyals — an increase of 2 percent in the year to end April — and still below the 723.4 billion riyals record of November, 2009.