Saudi foreign investor licenses more than double

The number of foreign investor licenses issued in Saudi Arabia in the second quarter more than doubled on a year earlier, led by the construction sector. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 11 September 2019

Saudi foreign investor licenses more than double

  • UK, India and US top three recipients
  • French investment bank Natixis wins license

LONDON: The number of foreign investor licenses issued in Saudi Arabia in the second quarter more than doubled on a year earlier, led by the construction sector.
Some 291 new foreign investor licenses were issued in the period according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). Construction took the lion’s share of the new permits, followed by ICT and manufacturing.
The Kingdom is ushering in a slew of economic reforms under its Vision 2030 blueprint for social and economic change which has a heavy emphasis on making it easier to do business and cutting red tape. Among those reforms is allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in a range of new sectors.
Two thirds of the new foreign investor licenses in the period were for ventures with full foreign ownership.
“These figures demonstrate the clear momentum we are seeing in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia,” said Majed Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment. “We continue to pursue further reforms to make it easier for international investors to play a role in our economic transformation in the years to come – bringing jobs, growth and opportunity to Saudi citizens.”
The influx of foreign companies coincides with greater overseas interest in trading Saudi companies listed on the Tadawul.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority said it licensed Natixis, the French investment bank, to operate in the Kingdom through Natixis Saudi Arabia Investment Company. Earlier in the year, Credit Suisse, another french bank was also awarded a license.
Tadawul expects additional passive funds’ inflows worth $3 billion from the remaining phases of inclusion in the FTSE Russell emerging market index starting in September, Reuters reported this week, citing chairwoman Sarah Al-Suhaimi.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 59 min 30 sec ago

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.