By Sukaina Ladak
The Muslim News: Saudi Arabia has transitioned its working week from Sunday to Thursday, meanings its official weekend is now Fridays and Saturdays, despite the failure of a similar proposal in 2007.
A royal decree on June 23 said that Government ministries and monetary agencies are adopting the new weekend from June 29.
King Abdullah made a statement on this decision saying that it is “for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities consistently associated with variation based on work days.”
John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at MASIC, a Riyadh-based investment company, said on June 23 the decision “will make the Saudi market more aligned with regional markets.”
Schools and universities will implement the change at the start of the new academic year.
Dubai, a main commercial hub also has its weekend on the same day. Oman recently made the switch last month.
John Burbank founder of San Francisco-based hedge fund Passport Capital LLC, said in February the move may attract as much as $30 billion of inflows.
Senior fund manager at ING Investment Management in Dubai said “Investors can read between the lines and see this as another step towards opening up the market.” Deutsche Bank and HSBC predicted that foreign investors could be given direct access to the country’s $400 billion stock exchange.