Amidst global uncertainties, Saudi Arabia emerges as a safe haven for investors. The country's fading pandemic and rising energy prices have propelled the economy to growth rates not seen in years.
The banking sector is undergoing a transformative shift, fuelled by the surge in oil prices and increased government revenues.
- As the world entered 2022, optimism filled the Saudi banking sector with strong revenue growth and robust asset quality.
- Major Banks like Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi National Bank reported significant income rises, reflecting a positive outlook.
- However, despite challenges like the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the optimism remains steadfast. Delayed projects and stalled construction pose obstacles in financing initiatives.
- The Ministry of Education has withdrawn unfinished projects due to delays, leading to potential legal actions against contractors.
- Pandemic disruptions and limited financing options contribute to construction slowdowns and project postponements, hindering progress.
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1. Saudi Arabia: A Safe Haven amidst Global Uncertainties
Amid the ongoing war in Europe, investments in less risky environment are becoming harder to find by investors, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has shown to be the most risk free places to invest in today's time.
The rise in oil prices is supporting the government's financial reserves and helping the banking sector, which is experiencing a historic shift in ages.
One major success story is Al Rajhi Bank, the country's largest bank, which announced a significant net income increase of about 40% in 2021, equal to SR14.74 Bn.
The start of 2022 brought about optimism in the Saudi banking sector, with analysts predicting strong revenue growth, robust asset quality, and an array of government projects that would drive loan growth.
These predictions were validated as Saudi National Bank, the second-largest bank, recorded a net income increase of over 10% at SR 12.6 Bn.
A month or so later, even with the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the spectre of stagflation, that optimism is largely undiminished.
2. Delayed Projects and Stalled Construction leading to disturbance in financing of projects
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- The Ministry of Education in KSA has withdrawn 26 unfinished projects from contractors due to delays.
- They have authorized education departments to take legal action against these contractors.
- The ministry expects the completion of 200 projects before the upcoming academic year, which will enhance services for citizens and replace substandard buildings.
The combination of COVID-19-related disruptions and reduced financing options can lead to delayed construction projects or even complete stall in some cases. Construction sites may face temporary closures or slowdowns due to lockdown measures, labour shortages, and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, developers may postpone or cancel projects due to financial constraints, exacerbating the impact on the pace of construction.
According to Ken Research, the cancellation of the cost-of-living allowance for civil servants and pensioners necessitates a realignment of spending allocation for housing initiatives. As Saudi Arabia navigates these challenges, the country's resilience and commitment to Vision 2030 continue to drive progress. By addressing funding disruptions and implementing strategic measures, the mortgage funding landscape in Saudi Arabia can adapt and thrive, supporting the country's ambitious goals for the future.
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