Saudi Arabia Gets a New Weekend
Aligns working week with fellow Gulf states with Friday-Saturday move
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2013 6:52 AM CDT
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia attends the Organization of Islamic Conference in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Saudi Press Agency)

(Newser) – A notable change for working Saudi Arabians: The weekend will now come a day later. Its people had enjoyed a Thursday-Friday weekend, but Oman's recent switch to Friday-Saturday made Saudi Arabia the odd man out among the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. The change to a Friday weekend start, described by Reuters as a "surprise," is effective this week, per an order issued yesterday by King Abdullah. Businesses are pleased: "It will increase interface with the rest of the world," says a former oil exec, and a Riyadh-based strategist notes that the move puts an end to "having just three working days aligned with the rest of the world."

Bloomberg sees something more behind the shift: the Saudi stock market. "It’s not official, but this is one of the things [Saudi Arabia] needed to do to open the markets for foreign investors," says a Dubai fund manager. Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Bank and HSBC have previously predicted that foreign investors could be given direct access to the country's $400 billion stock market as early as 2014.

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
carbonated_turtle
Jun 24, 2013 10:16 AM CDT
Who cares? The only time this backwards nation should be talked about is if it involves evacuating all of its women, or the West cutting all ties with them.
srau
Jun 24, 2013 9:04 AM CDT
Main point is that Saudi now has as a weekend the Jewish day of rest. It really is a good sign of international relations.
kj_nm
Jun 24, 2013 8:47 AM CDT
just as long as its okay with Allah