Saudi imports for the private sector, financed through commercial banks, dropped by 2.3 percent in the first five months of 2002 reaching 30.7 billion Saudi riyals (eight billion dollars), compared to SR 31.4 billion during the same period in the previous year, reported the Saudi National Commercial Bank (NCB).
The losses reflected lower spending on durable goods as a result of weak oil prices during the last half of 2001. The sector with the largest sum of imports was motor vehicles with a 19.7 percent increase from January to May reaching SR 5.1 billion, reported the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
Some 22 percent of the imports financed originated from Western Europe reaching SR 2.7 billion, imports from Japan totaled 19.5 percent and goods from the rest of Asia represented 27 percent of the total. Imports from North America amounted to 7.1 percent of the total.
There are twelve commercial banks operating in Saudi Arabia, three of which are fully Saudi-owned and the remainder of which have a minimum 60 percent Saudi participation. Modern banking in the Kingdom began with branches of foreign banks. As of the mid-1970s, a process of Saudization of foreign banks was undertaken that was completed in the early 1980’s. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )