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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sales spending registered a 6.9 percent decline in the third week of May, compared to the previous seven days, reaching SR11.65 billion ($3.11 billion), official figures showed. 

The latest data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, revealed that spending on beverages and food, which accounts for the largest share at 15 percent, saw a 9.3 percent decline, reaching SR1.77 billion, during the week from May 12 to 18. 

Meanwhile, transactions at restaurants and cafes, holding a 14.8 percent share, recorded a slower decline of 5.4 percent, amounting to SR1.73 billion. 

Saudi spending on miscellaneous goods and services, which include personal care items, supplies, maintenance, and cleaning, constituted the third-highest share and witnessed a 7.1 percent decline in that week, reaching SR1.44 billion. 

Despite comprising only 1 percent of the week’s overall POS value, spending on education recorded the largest decline, dropping 23.2 percent to SR152.33 million. 

In recent years, this sector has received the highest proportion of government spending compared to other areas of the economy. The education system is being overhauled to better prepare the national workforce to compete in an increasingly technology- and information-driven global economy. 

The telecommunications sector experienced the second-largest decline in POS transaction value, dropping 10.1 percent to SR95 million. 

According to data from SAMA, approximately 35 percent of POS spending occurred in Riyadh, with the total transaction value reaching SR4.04 billion. However, this represents a 5.4 percent decrease from the previous week.  

Riyadh has experienced significant expansion, becoming a central hub for growth and development. Numerous new businesses are establishing operations in the city, attracted by its dynamic economic environment and strategic opportunities for investment and innovation. 

Spending in Jeddah followed closely, accounting for around 14 percent of the total and reaching SR1.65 billion; however, it marked a 6.2 percent weekly decline. 

The two cities that registered the highest declines in POS spending were Hail and Tabouk, with decreases of 10.5 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively. The value of transactions in Hail reached SR176 million, while in Tabouk it was SR221 million. 

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