Business, Finance & Economics

Saudi Arabia moves its weekends

sexandsaudis.jpg

A Saudi man and woman at a hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on January 22, 2012.

Credit:

FAYEZ NURELDINE

Saudi Arabia will change the start of its weekends from Thursday to Friday.

A royal decree dictacting the switch is expected this week, sources told BBC News.

Oman made the same change last month, leaving Saudi Arabia a weekend outlier among the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council. 

Bloomberg was quick to comment on the economic takeaway of the move, saying it will bring the "biggest Arab economy a step closer to opening its $400 billion stock market to foreign investors."

Saudi Arabia is a booming market, maybe because many Saudis put in a six-day work week. According to Reuters, some Saudis take only the Islamic holy day of Friday off.

The new weekend is nonetheless a big change for the wealthy kingdom. 

"Instead of having just three working days aligned with the rest of the world, now you will have a full team for most of the working week that the rest of the world applies," John Sfakianakis of the Saudi-based Masic investment told Reuters, adding: "One extra day does play a considerable role in increasing output."