Banks helped the Saudi Stock Exchange (SSE) rise for a fourth straight session Monday, with stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) gaining 0.31 percent to close at 7,782.85 points – a new three-and-half year high, taking to 21.3 percent its gains this year.
The Saudi banking index jumped 1.2 percent to its highest level since April 2010 on upbeat sentiment sparked by improving market conditions.
Banks’ profits rose 26.6 percent year-on year and loan growth was 11.1 percent, while deposits increased 11.5 percent in February compared to the same period last year, according to data in a report by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.
Al Rajhi Bank rose 2.2 percent and Samba Financial Group climbed 1.9 percent.
Investors showed little concern after the chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saleh Kamel called for a ban on banks’ lending to investors trading shares, according to reports.
“Margin lending is nowhere near as large as was the case in 2004 and 2005 and banks are generally adopting a more cautious approach than the regulatory requirement,” said Paul Gamble at Jadwa Investment.