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May 31, 2024, 1:33pm EDT
businessMiddle East
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Semafor Signals

Saudi Arabia is selling Aramco shares to fund its megaprojects

Insights from The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and S&P Global

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General view of Aramco's oil field in the Empty Quarter
Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
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The News

Saudi Arabia announced it would sell more shares in its oil company Aramco, its state champion and the world’s most valuable oil company. The sale could raise up to $13.1 billion, and is a culmination of a years-long plan to expand the company’s pool of investors after it went public in 2019.

The kingdom is looking for fresh funding on a number of giant projects, including its $500 billion futuristic city, Neom, as it seeks to diversify its heavily oil-dependent economy.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Aramco share sale might not be enough to fund ambitious diversification plans

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Sources:  
Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal

The Aramco share sale is central to Saudi Arabia’s efforts to finance its ambitious projects and diversify its economy away from oil, but the offering will raise “only a fraction of the cost” of these projects that could end up costing trillions of dollars, according to The Wall Street Journal. The kingdom’s grand plans, including the completion of Neom, a futuristic city, are “facing a reality check,” the Financial Times wrote, as it grapples with slowing foreign investment and high global interest rates.

Saudi’s decision to sell Aramco shares buoyed by strong stock market

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Sources:  
S&P Global, The Wall Street Journal

While some have questioned the timing of the sale, given that crude oil prices have been lower this month, Saudi Arabia may have been buoyed by global stock markets reaching record highs. Analysts told S&P Global that the sale will still provide much-needed capital to the government as it pursues its domestic projects, and that the timing suggests “Saudi leaders do not see much more upside in crude prices and may be looking to cash in on the shares lest the oil market falls.”


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