Saudi Arabia has changed its official weekend to Friday and Saturday, state news agency SPA reported.
A statement on SPA said the change, decreed by King Abdullah, will take effect as of this weekend, "for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities consistently associated with variation based on work days between local departments, ministries and institutions and the regional and international counterparts."
The move brings the kingdom in line with the rest of the Gulf, as well as being closer to the working hours of international financial markets and businesses.
The Saudi financial market, the largest Arab bourse in capitalization, works five days per week but with the previous Thursday and Friday weekend, only three days had matched those of the main global markets.
In April, the Saudi Shura Consultative Council had agreed to study a recommendation to switch the Islamic weekend in the kingdom to Friday and Saturday.