Saudi Arabia to join FTSE Russell index from March 2019

Riyadh:The Saudi Arabian stock market will join FTSE Russell's emerging market index starting in March next year, the company said on Wednesday, a move expected to draw billions of dollars of fresh foreign portfolio investment to the kingdom.
Many equity funds around the world benchmark themselves against the index, and they will need to buy Saudi stocks when the change takes effect. With a capitalization of about $500 billion, Saudi Arabia is the Arab world's largest equity market.
The decision is a boost to reforms launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wants foreign investment to create jobs and diversify the economy, which has been hit hard by low oil prices, beyond energy exports.
To prevent Saudi Arabia's large size from destabilizing other markets as funds shift money to Riyadh, the Kingdom will enter the index in several stages starting in March 2019 and ending in December 2019, FTSE said.
The Kingdom is projected to have a weight of 2.7 percent in the index, which could rise to about 4.6 percent because of the government's proposed public offer of 5 percent of the shares of state oil giant Saudi Aramco, FTSE added.
Saudi authorities worked for years to meet criteria to enter the index, tightening rules on corporate governance, modernizing the market's settlement system and easing - though not completely removing - restrictions on foreign ownership of stocks.
Regional investment bank EFG Hermes has estimated Saudi Arabia will attract about $5 billion of "passive," index-linked funds because of FTSE's decision.
In addition, rival index firm MSCI will decide in June whether to include Saudi Arabia in its own emerging market benchmark. A positive decision, which many fund managers expect, could produce around $10 billion of passive inflows. Agencies
Source: Agencies


  
  

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