SAUDI ARABIAN MARKET
Saudi Arabia Macroeconomic Developments
• Saudi Arabia lowered its U.S. Treasury holdings by SAR4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) in December after four months of successive increases. The Kingdom’s U.S. Treasury holdings totaled SAR511.5 billion ($136.4 billion) at the end of 2020. Saudi Arabia remains the 14th largest sovereign holder of U.S. debt.
• The Ministry of Finance closed its February 2021 riyal-denominated sukuk issuance at SAR3.16 billion ($840 million). The issuance was divided into two tranches with the first sized at SAR1.93 billion ($515 million) maturing in 2028 and the second sized at SAR1.23 billion ($328 million) maturing in 2033. Read more about the Kingdom’s domestic debt financing program in USSBC’s Sukuk Market Update.
• Point of sale (POS) transactions fell 11 percent to SAR7.6 billion ($2 billion) during the week ending February 13. All sectors aside from construction materials and fuel stations saw declines in sales. Service and retail sectors including hotels (-26 percent), restaurants & cafes (-18 percent), and clothes & footwear (-14 percent) saw the biggest declines after Saudi Arabia suspended in-person activities in most service sector businesses to combat the spread of the coronavirus.