Saudi Central Bank gets Fahad Al-Mubarak as its new governor

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
Fahad Al-Mubarak
Newly appointed Saudi Central Bank governor Fahad Al-Mubarak

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed Fahad Al-Mubarak as governor of the central bank (SAMA), one of the Kingdom’s most sensitive positions, by replacing Ahmed AlKholifey.

Al-Mubarak, who had managed the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) from 2011 to 2016, was the former chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley, Saudi Arabia, and has also acted as chairman of the Saudi stock exchange.

He was succeeded as governor in 2016 by AlKholifey, who led SAMA during a sharp economic downturn last year triggered by lower crude prices and COVID-19. AlKholifey will become an adviser at the royal court, a decree carried on state media said.

SAMA unveiled a $13.3 billion (50-billion-riyal) stimulus package last March to boost the private sector as the largest oil exporter in the world. It has announced in June the infusion of another $13.3 billion into the banking sector to boost liquidity.

In September, as COVID-19 constraints eased and early signs of recovery showed in the Saudi economy, AlKholifey said he was confident in the financial stability of the country, but cautioned to reduce monetary support to avoid asset deterioration.

Last year, the central bank transferred $40 billion to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund, to raise its firepower for overseas investment.

AlKholifey has supervised the Saudi banking industry at a critical time of Saudi Arabia, as banks’ liquidity suffered after the 2014-2015 oil price drop. Under his guidance in 2016, the central bank introduced new monetary tools to reduce market interest rates. Liquidity in the Saudi banking system also enhanced as Riyadh that year started borrowing tens of billions of dollars in the overseas markets, reducing pressure on Saudi banks.

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