Saudi Central Bank Hikes Bill Issuance Cap to 10 Billion Riyals

The Saudi Central Bank more than tripled its weekly bill issuance ceiling to 10 billion riyals ($2.24 billion) to help banks more efficiently manage their liquidity.

Saudi lenders are dealing with a liquidity glut after the central bank provided a raft of support measures in response to the coronavirus. The regulator has provided over 100 billion riyals to local banks in liquidity injections and to cover the costs of loan deferrals for small businesses hit by the pandemic.

Central bank moves have been key to stimulating the virus-battered economy after authorities refrained from providing an aggressive fiscal response.

The loan to deposit rate, a key measure of liquidity in the banking system, was 75.6% at the end of October, down from 80% at the end of March and well below the 90% limit. The spread between the Saudi riyal interbank rate and the same rate for dollars has also been narrowing.

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