October 24, 2018 / 8:01 AM / 21 days ago

Saudi Arabia will not penalize banks that boycotted conference - c.bank chief

DUBAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s central bank governor said the kingdom will not penalize foreign banks that boycotted an investment conference in Riyadh and reiterated the country’s commitment to defend its currency peg to the dollar.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Wednesday that institutions that pulled out of the Saudi conference will still be able to apply for and obtain banking licenses to operate in the kingdom.

He also reiterated the country’s commitment to defend the Saudi riyal’s peg to the dollar, adding that the current pressure to the peg was much lower than in the past when oil prices crashed.

The riyal, which sank to a two-year low of 3.7526 against the U.S. dollar earlier this month because of concern that the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi could hurt foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, has recovered some of the losses and on Wednesday stood at 3.7511. (Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh, Aziz El Yaakoubi; writing by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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