Saudi aims to exit “index limbo”

A review to determine Saudi Arabia’s market status could end the country’s “index limbo” and entice $35 billion of inflows.

Index compiler MSCI, which is considering whether to include Saudi Arabia in its widely followed Emerging Markets index, will reveal its decision in June 2018 for a potential inclusion the following year.

The inflows, “would create a meaningful ripple in a market where foreign ownership is currently below 2%”, said Charles Sunnucks, a fund manager at Jupiter Asset Management, who made the prediction.

“Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s index clout could rise quickly if Aramco – Saudi Arabia’s crown jewel oil asset – is listed as anticipated in 2018,” he said. “Valuations for the company are extremely varied, including at the high end Saudi’s own highly ambitious $2 trillion estimate, over double the size of the world’s largest listed company Apple.”

Until June 2015, Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange was closed to direct foreign investment. The exchange is now accessible to qualified foreign institutional investors that hold a licence.

©2017 funds global mena

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