Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank has reported a 32 per cent fall in profits for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the same period of 2008, with profits falling to SR296m ($78.9m) from SR434m.

The bank said the fall in profits was “due to additional provisions in line with the bank’s conservative policy”.

The bank also reported a 10.8 per cent decline in customer deposits at the end of 2009 compared to the end of 2008, with the value of its deposits falling to SR83bn at the end of 2009. However, this still marked an increase of 2.7 per cent from the figure at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

Total assets also declined by 9 per cent to SR110bn at the end of the year, compared to SR121bn at the end of 2008.

Another Saudi bank, Bank Al-Jazira, also reported weak results for 2009 on 11 January. The bank said its losses in the fourth quarter widened from $24.5m in the final three months of 2008 to $70.9m in the last quarter of 2009.

The results followed a day after Banque Saudi Fransi reported a 43 per cent decline in its profits for the fourth quarter of the year, and Saudi Holland announced a loss of SR439m for the same period.

Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) is estimating that Gulf banks will make a total of $9.4bn of provisions for bad debts in 2009, an increase of 40 per cent on the figure in 2008.