Saudi Islamic finance close to $800b, Kingdom ranks first in the world

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The Islamic financial industry in Saudi Arabia has a prominent position in the world, with nearly SR3 trillion ($799.7 billion) of total assets, the Saudi Central Bank Deputy Governor for Research and International Affairs, Fahad Abdullah Al-Dossari, said.

This represents approximately 28 percent of the total Islamic financial assets globally, making the Kingdom the first in the world, according to the report of the Islamic Financial Services Board issued in 2021, Al-Dossari said in a seminar on April 25.

The official from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, pointed out that the Islamic financial industry has witnessed a clear quantitative growth in the size of its assets and its spread at the international level, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Its assets amounted to about $2.7 trillion, according to the IFSB report, achieving an annual growth of more than 10 percent, he said.

The Islamic banking sector took the lion’s share of the Islamic financial industry i.e. up to 68 percent, with a volume of $1.8 trillion, Al-Dossari said, adding that the sector witnessed rapid growth as the total Shariah-compliant financing reached more than SR1.720 trillion, with an annual growth rate of about 18 percent.

The total Shariah-compliant deposits amounted to more than SR1.780 trillion, with an annual growth rate of about 13 percent by the end of 2021, he added.

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic banks lending grew by a record 17.9 percent in 2021, according to the data released earlier this month.

Looking at the structure of financing provided by the Saudi Islamic banks, Murabaha reached SR779 billion at the end of 2021.

The amount in this mode of financing keeps growing at the fastest rate, compared to other Shariah-compliant structures. For example, in 2021 it grew 38.4 percent year-on-year, compared to 16.5 percent and 9.8 percent for Tawwaruq and Ijara, respectively.—Arab News