Global exchange funds eye Saudi Arabian equities

Global exchange-traded funds are building cash piles to place in Saudi Arabian equities, so says Bloomberg. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Global exchange funds eye Saudi Arabian equities

  • It comes as the country joins the FTSE Russell emerging markets index
  • Index provider MSCI is also adding Saudi stocks to its own emerging markets index

LONDON: Global exchange-traded funds are building cash piles to place in Saudi Arabian equities, according to a ranking compiled by Bloomberg.
It comes as the country joins the FTSE Russell emerging markets index, which is expected to attract billions of dollars in foreign fund inflows.
“We believe Saudi’s inclusion in the FTSE Russell EM Index will have a significantly positive impact on stock markets, Salah Shamma, the regional head of investment at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Arab News.
“With an estimated $115 billion benchmarked against the FTSE Russell EM Index, the Kingdom could constitute approximately 2.5 percent of the gauge, resulting in passive fund flows of about $3 billion,” he said.
A London-based exchange- traded fund (ETF) and another fund that trades in New York have together attracted around $327 million in new money since the beginning of January, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
The net flow as a percentage of assets for Saudi Arabia funds increased by about 48 percent this year.
FTSE Russell started to include Saudi stocks this week — the first of a five-stage process that will be fully implemented by March 2020.
Index provider MSCI is also adding Saudi stocks to its own emerging markets index.
Positions on the Saudi market through funds based abroad have delivered a return of about
12 percent each since the start of the year, compared with a gain of 10 percent for the Tadawul All Share Index, according to Bloomberg data.
Franklin Templeton’s Shamma believes the inclusion of Saudi equities in the two gauges will help to bring the wider region into the mainstream of emerging market investment.
“The fundamentals of the Saudi economy are strong, and we remain encouraged by the country’s progress in reducing its reliance on hydrocarbon revenues as well as the ambitious reform agenda that is underway there,” he said.
Listed companies in the Kingdom could see holdings by foreign investors rise to 10 percent when their shares are included in index providers MSCI and FTSE’s emerging-market indices, the chief executive of Tadawul told Reuters on Monday.
Saudi Arabia this week joined the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index with a weighting of 2.9 percent.
Khalid Al-Hussan told Reuters that he expected equities on Tadawul to attract $5 billion of passive fund inflows after the FTSE Russell inclusion. Foreign investors currently hold about 5.9 percent of Saudi shares.


Air France to keep flying to Cairo

Updated 21 July 2019
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Air France to keep flying to Cairo

  • British Airways, a unit of IAG said on Saturday it was suspending flights to Cairo for seven days “as a precaution”
  • Germany’s Lufthansa later said it had canceled its flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt and would resume its connection on Sunday

PARIS: Air France is maintaining its flights to Cairo, a spokesman for the airline said on Sunday, following the decision by rivals British Airways and Lufthansa to suspend flights to Egypt’s capital over security concerns.
British Airways, a unit of IAG said on Saturday it was suspending flights to Cairo for seven days “as a precaution” as it reviews the security of the airport in Cairo.
Germany’s Lufthansa later said it had canceled its flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt and would resume its connection on Sunday.
“In liaison with the French authorities and the local authorities in Egypt, Air France has decided to maintain its service to Cairo,” Air France’s spokesman said in a written statement sent to Reuters.