Saudi banking sector gets off to a positive start in 2021; KPMG

The profitability of Saudi banks will surpass their GCC peers in 2021, despite low interest rates and the elevated cost of risk. (File/Shutterstock)

In a new indication of the economic recovery in the main sectors and activities in Saudi Arabia; banks continue to disclose their financial results, revealing a tangible leap in the performance of their business for the first half of 2021.

The Saudi stock market interacted with the results of the banking sector; and the main stock index closed on Sunday, up 54.22 points; to close at 11066.93 points, with transactions worth SAR8bn ($2.1bn).

On Sunday, Al-Rajhi Bank, the heaviest share in the main stock market index; announced a 44 percent increase in profits, achieving SAR6.9bn ($1.8bn), compared to SAR4.8bn achieved during the same period in 2020.

Alinma Bank revealed on Sunday that its profits rose to 1.3 billion riyals by the end of the first half of 2021, with a growth rate of 43 percent, compared to profits of SAR942.8mn achieved for the same period last year.

The profits of Banque Saudi Fransi rose to 1.5 billion riyals at the end of the first six months of the year by 38 percent, compared to profits of 1.1 billion riyals for the same period last year.

Riyad Bank, which is the third largest Saudi bank in terms of assets; achieved high profits by the end of the first half by 13 percent at 1.5 billion riyals, compared to profits of 2539 million riyals in the same period in 2020.

In addition, Bank Albilad profits rose to 808.8 million riyals for the first six months; an increase of 38 percent, compared to 588.1 million riyals profits for the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the Saudi British Bank (SABB) decided on Sunday to distribute cash dividends to shareholders of 5% of the capital (equivalent to 0.5 riyals per share), as dividends for the first half of the year.