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Saudi Arabia's consumer spending drops in February

Bloomberg/Cairo
Filed on March 30, 2016 | Last updated on March 30, 2016 at 08.03 am

M3, one of the broadest measures of money supply, shrank for the first time since at least 2000, when Bloomberg started tracking the data.

 The Saudi economy is showing deepening signs of strain under the weight of cheap oil. Saudi consumers withdrew and spent less money in February, according to central bank data released on Monday.

M3, one of the broadest measures of money supply, shrank for the first time since at least 2000, when Bloomberg started tracking the data.

"The data reflects weaker consumer confidence," said Simon Kitchen, head of macro-strategy at Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes. "Oil prices remain low, in spite of the February-March recovery, and disposable incomes have been under pressure this year. A recovery in consumer sentiment is unlikely in 2016."

Cash withdrawals through ATMs fell eight per cent after expanding for at least the previous five months, central bank data show. Point-of-sale transactions, an indicator of consumer confidence in the economy, dropped nine per cent from the year-earlier period to 15.2 billion riyals ($4.1 billion). 


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