Ahead of the annual Hajj Pilgrimage, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that expatriates, including those arriving via Haramain Train, will be banned from entering Makkah from Shawaal 25 until Dhul Hijjah 10. Expatriates arriving at the gateways of Makkah by any means of transport – cars, buses or trucks – will be banned from entering the holy city during these days.


However, expatriates who are living in the region or are working there during the Hajj season can enter the holy city but must obtain necessary travel permits from the pertinent authorities. The measure comes in line with the royal order banning expatriates from entering the holy city of Makkah from Shawwal 25 every year except individuals living in the region or working there during the season.


Also, the Ministry has announced that electronic issuance of Umrah visas was stopped on June 17, and pilgrims who were issued visas before June 17 would be allowed to enter the Kingdom until July 2.


Saudi Gazette –




Saudi Arabia is on track to outpace India and take first position in the ETF ranking this year. The ETF ranking tracks flows into exchange-traded funds of developing countries. For the past three years, Saudi Arabia had been behind China and Brazil.


India and Saudi Arabia are leading ranking for ETF net inflows this year with new money invested in ETFs in India at $2.5 billion and Saudi Arabia at $2.2 billion. If the net inflows for the last three months are considered alone, the Kingdom is already on top of the chart, with India following.


Moreover, inflows to Saudi shares are expected to expand quickly as MSCI Inc. and FTSE Russell are preparing to add some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies to their main emerging-market benchmarks in the coming months. The two main global index compilers started their upgrade in March, and is scheduled for completion in 2020.


The London-traded Invesco MSCI Saudi Arabia UCITS ETF, the largest ETF tracking Saudi shares, had net inflows of near $910 million in May, the most for a month since its inception last year, boosting its net for the year to $1.4 billion.


Bloomberg – 11 June 2019


Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is expected to pick up further this year despite threats due to global economic slowdown and its possible impact on the oil market, the Kingdom’s Central Bank said.


Reports published by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) noted that the Kingdom’s economic growth recovered to 2.2 percent in 2018 in comparison to a 0.7 percent decline the previous year. The growth was triggered mainly by the oil sector, which progressed 2.9 percent while the non-oil sector grew by 1.7 percent in 2018, compared to 1 percent in 2017.


The growth of the Kingdom’s non-oil sector is expected to be stimulated by expansionary fiscal policy as the budget for 2019 shows a significant increase in capital expenditure by SR245 billion, the report said.


The country’s non-oil revenues rose 90 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year and reached SR287 billion, with more than half coming from tax revenues, while government expenditure rose by 11 percent to SR1 trillion in 2018.



Bloomberg – 02 June 2019