$18bn stimulus package to help boost Saudi real estate sector

Saudi Arabia has boosted its financial stimulus package to over 70 billion ($18.5 billion) in bid to support the private sector, especially SMES which have been most affected by the virus.  In the long-run, the positive impact of these measures will trickle down to the economy and the real estate sector, said leading global real estate consultancy Savills.


Even as governments across the Middle East continue to introduce initiatives and implement strict measures to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, Savills today released a new report analysing the impact on the Saudi market.


Saudi Arabia faces a precarious situation due to the declining global oil demand, dropping oil prices because of output disagreements with Russia, and the looming threat of the pandemic spreading globally and within the region, it stated   


As the largest and one of the most significant economies in the GCC, Saudi Arabia was among the first countries in the region to initiate stringent measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. 


All international flights to and from the country were cancelled from March 15. Major cities including Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah were put under a curfew since March 25 and Jeddah a few days later. 


Travellers arriving in the kingdom were quarantined for 14 days. Failure on the part of residents to disclose travel history and health issues is an offense with fines up to $133,000.


David O’Hara, the head of Savills Saudi Arabia said: "The country’s experience in dealing with MeRS in 2012 has led to these quick and effective measures from the government. Its social and medical infrastructure is also well positioned to address the logistical challenges posed by the pandemic. 


These measures and support factors have so far been effective as the country has officially recorded only 1,299 cases till March 29, seven weeks after the first official case was recorded on March 2. 


The society's commitment with the curfew orders has also helped in curtailing the further spread of virus, stated O Hara.


According to Savills, the government has stepped in to support the economy with monetary policies aimed at invigorating business sentiments and ensuring sufficient liquidity in the market. 


In the past few weeks, the Sama (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority) has announced a SR50 billion program to support the private sector, and aimed at promoting economic growth through a package of measures.


In addition to the measures announced by Sama, the Ministry of Finance has announced urgent initiatives to support the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises and economic activities most affected by the virus. 


"The financial stimulus package of these initiatives reaches more than SR70 billion, which consists of exemptions and postponement of some government dues to provide liquidity to the private sector thereby enabling them to manage continuity of their economic activities," remarked O’Hara.


According to him, the new policy measures will provide a much-needed support to the economy at this critical juncture. In the long-run, the positive impact of these measures will trickle down to the economy and the real estate sector. 


However, in the short-to-medium term, economic growth is likely to remain muted. As per latest estimates by Oxford Economics, non-oil growth is forecast to grow at 0.7% (from 2.8% previously) in 2020. 


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/810427/$18bn-stimulus-package-to-help-boost-Saudi-real-estate-sector-


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