The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), which is analogous to the Saudi Central Bank, has lost about $250 billion of its cash assets in just three years reaching its lowest levels in six years.
According to an official report released by SAMA and obtained by Middle East Eye, the monetary assets declined at the end of July 2017 for the 14th month in a row to reach 1.91 trillion Saudi Riyals ($509 billion), which is the lowest level in six years. The figure has also showed a 12.4% decline compared to a year ago.
Official figures show that SAMA lost a value of 932 billion Saudi riyals ($ 249 billion) between August 2014-July 2017
According to the SAMA report, the decline in monetary assets was due to a 10% decline with respect to investment securities abroad, while the report did not indicate the decline in oil prices or the war in Yemen and their implications on the monetary situation of the Kingdom.
The London-based economic analyst Nihad Ismael told Middle East Eye that several factors combined to precipitate a decline in SAMA’s monetary assets, the most important of which were the decline in oil prices and the war in Yemen in addition to geopolitical tensions in the Gulf region, due to the imposition of the blockade on Qatar.
Ismael added that “the war in Yemen alone drains $600 million a month from the Saudi treasury.” Bloomberg news agency also estimates that Saudi Arabia has lost $22 billion since the blockade on Qatar which began in June.[Source: Middle East Monitor]