46869
Saudi Central Bank Struggling With Liquidity Shortage
World Economy

Saudi Central Bank Struggling With Liquidity Shortage

Saudi Arabia’s central bank is having only little success in using money market tools to fight a surge in market interest rates caused by low oil prices, and may need to resort to more radical steps, commercial bankers say.
Such steps could include raising the ratio of deposits which commercial banks are permitted to lend out and reducing the amount of reserves which banks must place with the central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Reuters reported.
By slashing government revenues, low oil prices have cut the volume of petrodollars flowing into the Saudi banking system. Total deposits at commercial banks, which grew continuously for years, were 3.3% lower in June than they were a year ago.
This has strained liquidity in the banking system, pushing interbank money rates higher. The one-year Saudi interbank offered rate has jumped more than 1.5 percentage points in the past 12 months.
That in turn threatens banks’ ability to lend to the private sector at affordable rates, a key consideration as the government tries to limit damage to the economy from cheap oil, and raises borrowing costs for the government, which is selling bonds to the banks every month to finance a big budget deficit.
“SAMA warned of a liquidity shortage almost a year ago,” said a local banker, speaking about central bank policy on condition of anonymity. “Now it is facing such a situation.”
In normal times, SAMA uses its repo rate to lend money to banks when they face liquidity shortages. But repo operations are very short-term and cannot address the structural, longer-term fund shortage which is emerging due to low oil prices.
So since the first quarter of this year, SAMA has been taking bigger steps. It has scaled back its sales of bills to banks; they held just 52.8 billion riyals ($14.1 billion) of SAMA bills in June, down from 215.8 billion riyals 12 months ago and the lowest level since at least 2010.

  Pressure on Liquidity
Since the second quarter, SAMA has also been making special provisions of longer-term funds to banks which need them.
Some bankers say they have obtained money in the form of deposits; as part of its monetary arsenal, SAMA is permitted to place state institutions’ funds with banks. Some bankers believe proceeds of a $10 billion international loan obtained by Riyadh in May were placed with banks.
Other bankers describe the fund injections as low-interest loans. This raises the possibility that SAMA has introduced a new monetary tool similar to the European Central Bank’s long-term refinancing operations, which the ECB employed to address liquidity shortages during financial squeezes in recent years.
But there are signs of continued pressure on liquidity. While interbank rates leveled off in late June, they have resumed creeping up in the last few days; at 2.498%, the one-year rate is at its highest since January 2009.

  Bond Holdings Slow
Also, the rise in Saudi banks’ holdings of government bonds slowed in June, increasing by just 3.1 billion riyals during that month. This suggests that because they lack spare funds, banks may no longer be showing much appetite to buy in the government’s monthly offers of about 20 billion riyals of bonds.
The bond offers are shrouded in secrecy, so bankers say it is impossible to be sure how much debt the government is succeeding in selling. But if banks stop buying the bonds, Riyadh may be forced to borrow more from abroad or draw down its financial reserves faster to finance its deficit.
So bankers think SAMA may take regulatory steps to bolster liquidity, either by raising banks’ maximum loan-to-deposit ratio, or by reducing the share of deposits that must be held in cash reserves at the central bank.
The loan-to-deposit ratio has already been lifted once, in February, to 90% from 85%. The 90% ceiling has been reached for the system as a whole, “which leads us to believe that SAMA will further ease the limit”, Jadwa Investment said in a report this week.

Short URL : http://goo.gl/0ptueW
  1. http://goo.gl/C9SAKR
  • http://goo.gl/MuReJq
  • http://goo.gl/VvQS5n
  • http://goo.gl/cvTMGj
  • http://goo.gl/L0iRfw

You can also read ...

Singapore PM Says Economy Needs Restructuring
Singapore’s economic growth could exceed 3% in 2017, higher...
World GDP is expected to advance 3.5% in 2017—its best year since 2011—and 3.7% in 2018.
Nearly 10 years after the financial crisis brought the global...
Kuwait Needs $100b Over 5 Years to Cover Deficit
Kuwait will need $100 billion of additional financing over the...
Supporters of EU-Mercosur Free-Trade Pact Push for Deal
Supporters of a free trade pact between the EU and the...
The OECD believes that tax evasions cost governments around the world as much as $240 billion a year in lost revenue.
They have revolutionized the way people live, but are US tech...
Emmanuel Macron (L), French Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud (C) and Jean-Claude Juncker.
The EU is trying to present itself as more socially just,...
China to Help Shortfalls in Pension Funds
China on Saturday announced a pilot program to help pension...
Few Signs of Progress in NAFTA Talks
Negotiations in Mexico to update NAFTA have not made much...

Trending

Googleplus