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Saudi Al Rajhi Bank reports 24% rise in Q1 profit

Saudi Arabian lender Al Rajhi Bank has announced a nearly 24 percent rise in quarterly earnings, fuelled by a jump in net financing for customers, and higher investment income and fees from banking services.

The bank reported a net profit of 4.1 billion riyals ($1.09 billion) for the first quarter ended March 31, up 3.34 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia’s banking sector is benefiting from higher interest rates, as a hike by U.S. Federal Reserve is typically followed by the Saudi central bank due to the Saudi riyal’s peg to the US dollar.

Loan demand from private-sector businesses continues to be strong in Saudi Arabia, as the economy rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic amid higher oil prices, analysts say.

The International Monetary Fund earlier this month upgraded top oil exporter Saudi Arabia’s economic growth outlook to 7.6 percent in 2022, citing higher oil output and prices, from 3.2 percent in 2021. Its previous forecast was 4.8 percent.

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