Big investors show confidence in Saudi Arabia

Foreigners pour $1.85 billion into stock market in Jan-Feb

March 11, 2019
General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal. — Reuters
General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal. — Reuters

RIYADH — Big investors in Saudi Arabia are pushing ahead with deals and pouring money into its stock market.

Dow Chemical said it is constructing a $100 million polymer plant in Jubail and will complete a feasibility study by the end of 2019 for another complex to produce siloxanes and silicones. Technology and manufacturing group Honeywell International Inc is going ahead with projects as part of a $3.6 billion agreement in 2017 to deliver projects localizing goods and services for state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

General Electric Co, said it was building on $15 billion of Saudi deals it signed in 2017.

“We continue to build upon our agreements to support local infrastructure and growth across the power, oil and gas, healthcare, aviation and digital sectors,” a GE spokesman said.

Last month the Kingdom announced $54.4 billion in deals and offered fresh incentives under a 10-year industrial program that aims to attract $427 billion in investment.

Foreign invested SR6.94 billion ($1.85 billion) into the Saudi market in the first two months of 2019, according to Saudi stock exchange data. The index is up more than 8 percent, outperforming its Gulf peers.

Investors are now looking ahead to the inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI’s emerging markets benchmark this year and focusing on the pace of economic reforms, bankers say.

“There’s too much opportunity for investment in Saudi Arabia,” said Nick Wilson, chairman of the $100 million Gulf Investment Fund which plans to increase its exposure to the Saudi stocks it sees benefiting from reforms.

He pointed to projects to boost the economy such as the $500 billion business zone NEOM. — Reuters

March 11, 2019
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