Saudi Arabia's holdings of US Treasuries at six-year low
Now Reading
Saudi Arabia’s holdings of US Treasuries at six-year low

Saudi Arabia’s holdings of US Treasuries at six-year low

The kingdom in June sold more than $3bn in US government debt, offloading the securities for a third consecutive month

US Treasuries

Saudi Arabia’s reserve of US Treasuries fell to the lowest level in more than six years, as the kingdom allocates more of its oil wealth into riskier assets.

The Gulf country in June sold more than $3bn in US government debt, offloading the securities for a third consecutive month to bring its holdings to $108.1bn, according to Treasury Department data. The neighboring country of UAE sold nearly $4bn.

The Arab Gulf region’s countries are seeking out new avenues for investing to get higher returns in a world where a backlash is building against the hegemony of the US dollar.

Saudi Arabia offloads US Treasuries

For Saudi Arabia, whose holdings of Treasuries are down over 41 per cent since early 2020, the choice increasingly fell on assets including investments in Lucid Group, Uber Technologies, and Newcastle United.

The share of Saudi Arabia’s external wealth in risky assets stood at around 40 per cent by the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg Economics. It’s more than doubled since 2016, when then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he’d wanted to invest in sectors other than oil.

What Bloomberg Economics Says…

“Domestically, higher risks mean potential losses for the kingdom. Globally, the re-allocation of Saudi wealth could result in higher US interest rates,” said Ziad Daoud, chief emerging markets economist.

Echoing the selloff by Gulf states, China dumped $11.3bn in June to bring its holdings of US Treasuries to the lowest level since mid-2009, according to the latest figures released on Tuesday. Japan and the UK were among the biggest buyers of what’s widely perceived as one of the safest assets to own.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and a pillar of a system established in the 1970s that relies on pricing crude exports in the US currency. While maintaining a peg to the dollar for decades, it’s now also seeking to strengthen its relations with crucial trade partners including China as part of an effort to diversify the economy away from energy.

Higher oil prices and output used to quickly translate into rising foreign reserves for Saudi Arabia. But officials announced a year ago the kingdom planned to hold on to the money and only later decide how to distribute it.

It still isn’t clear how Saudi Arabia is allocating the money. Other potential recipients of transfers include the National Development Fund, which has been tasked with investing in developing the kingdom’s infrastructure, and the Public Investment Fund — the sovereign wealth fund.

This year, the kingdom’s effort to support crude prices with output cuts has left it with far smaller receipts from oil sales abroad. After earning a windfall of nearly $326bn in 2022, Saudi Arabia is at risk of running a budget deficit again following its first surplus in almost a decade.

Read: Global household wealth drops for first time since 2008 financial crisis

You might also like


Scroll To Top