March 15, 2020 / 11:28 AM / 19 days ago

Saudi central bank to intervene if liquidity affected - governor to Al Arabiya

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s central bank will intervene to support the kingdom’s economy if liquidity is tight or credit is affected, its governor told state-owned Al Arabiya TV on Sunday, reiterating the commitment to the riyal’s peg to the dollar.

“The challenges are the coronavirus and the lower oil price globally, but we are monitoring liquidity indicators and monitoring indicators of capital availability at banks,” said Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey.

He added such indicators were “very good” and did not require intervention at this stage.

The Saudi riyal, pegged to the U.S. dollar, weakened last week in the forward market after oil prices plunged.

“The change in the riyal price is not big,” Al-Kholifey said, adding that there was no discussion on changing the peg.

SAMA said on Saturday it had prepared a 50 billion riyal ($13.32 billion) package to help small and medium-sized enterprises cope with the economic impact of coronavirus.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Marwa Rashad; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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