Saudi banks’ net profits up strongly in 7 months

JEDDAH – Saudi banks netted more than SR21 billion in the first seven months of 2012 as lending continued to gain momentum and allow them to net one of their highest incomes in many years, latest data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency ( SAMA ) showed.
SAMA ‘s monthly report showed the banks’ net earnings stood at SR21.34 billion during January-July, an average of more than SR3 billion a month.

It showed banks earned SR3.46 billion in January, SR3.1 billion in February and SR2.6 billion in March, a quarterly income of nearly SR9.3 billion. The income in the second quarter stood at SR8.8 billion while it stood at SR3.23 billion in July. Recovering credit allied with higher commission and investment return boosted Saudi banks’ net profits by nearly 18 percent to around SR30.9 billion in 2011 from nearly SR26.1 billion in 2010.

The surge marked a return to profit growth by the banking sector after a decline in the previous four years.
Saudi Arabia’s banks netted their highest profits of SR34.6 billion in 2006 before the income slumped to SR30.2 billion in 2007.

Slackening domestic credit, allied with a rise in provisions, cut Saudi banks’ net profits to around SR26.8 billion in 2009 from SR29.9 billion in 2008. Profits again slipped to SR26.1 billion in 2010 before bouncing up to SR30.9 billion in 2011, their highest level since 2006 and the second highest in banks’ history.

SAMA ‘s figures showed banks’ claims on the private sector swelled by about 10 percent in the first seven months of 2012 and 10.7 percent through 2011. Credit grew by nearly 5.5 percent in 2010 and was dormant in the previous year.
Saudi banks have the second largest asset base in the Arab region after UAE banks, with their combined assets standing at SR1.62 trillion (AED1.60 trillion) at the end of July against about AED1.72 trillion for UAE banks in June.

The Saudi Gazette 2012, Sep 04 2012