Saudi Arabia provided $40 bn from foreign reserves to PIF, says Minister

Saudi Arabia supported its sovereign wealth fund PIF with 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) from the central bank’s foreign reserves in March and April to enhance the fund’s investment capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan said on Friday.

“Maximizing the return on the Kingdom’s assets will reflect positively on economic performance and public finances, and reduce the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” al-Jadaan said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

He added: “While foreign reserve flows are on average within historical norms, a noticeable decline in FX reserves is due to the transfer, as PIF investments do not appear on the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) published data.”

The Kingdom’s central bank foreign exchange reserves fell in March at their fastest rate in at least 20 years and to their lowest since 2011.Al-Jadaan mentioned that PIF continues to implement its investment plans, which included “seizing a set of investment opportunities that had arisen under the current circumstances in the global financial market.”

Bloomberg had reported in mid-May that PIF bought billions of dollars of stock in companies including BP Plc, Boeing Co., Citigroup Inc., Facebook Inc, Walt Disney Co., and Bank of America Corp.

He added: “The government continues to implement its development plans to support growth and economic diversification and enhance the role of the private sector and support local production, whether through the state’s general budget or through development funds and the Public Investment Fund (PIF).”