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Saudi central bank to head new Gulf monetary union

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Business Week
April 1, 2010

The head of Saudi Arabia’s central bank on Tuesday was named the first chairman of a council that will serve as the precursor to a regional central bank in the latest step toward a unified Gulf currency and greater economic integration.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency head Mohammed al-Jasser’s appointment came during the first meeting of the newly-created Gulf Monetary Council — a body that groups together the OPEC kingpin, as well as Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

Two other Gulf Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, have opted out of the plan.

The meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, appeared to underscore a directed push to move ahead with a broader unification and single currency process that has been thwarted for years by political bickering, economic challenges and infighting, analysts said.

“From Saudi Arabia’s position, it shows a clear commitment to bring all the countries closer together and move toward the currency union,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group. “It offers the Monetary Council, and the rest of the states, the ability to tap into the technical resources of Saudi Arabia and that of the (regional) central bank.”

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This article was posted: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

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