Middle East oil exporters’ deposits with Western banks continued to fall in the last quarter of 1993, reaching a low of $143,206 million at the turn of the year, according to figures released by the Basle-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The banks’ claims on these countries rose by $2,077 million to $66,449 million.

The deposits of these countries have seen a reduction of about $36,000 million in two years. Liabilities have grown by $12,000 million over the same period.

Saudi Arabia accounted for just over one-fifth of the $4,813 million fall in deposits in the last quarter of 1993. Its deposits stood at $59,908 million in December, compared with $64,331 million a year earlier and $82,777 million in December 1991.

Kuwait’s and the UAE’s deposits in the last quarter of 1993 fell by about $1,000 million each, almost the same amount as Saudi Arabia’s. BIS reports marginal drops for Libya, Iraq and Oman. In the previous quarter of the year, Libyan deposits had fallen by $2,772 million.

The only countries to show increased deposits at the end of 1993 were Iran and Qatar – by $174 million and $80 million, respectively. Iran’s liabilities to the banks increased by $563 million (see Iran).