Wall Street is ‘looking for opportunities’ in Saudi Arabia, the country’s finance minister says
Riyadh saw its foreign investment figures drop dramatically in 2017, the same year that the country’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a so-called anti-corruption shakedown, detaining hundreds of Saudi royals and businessmen. Subsequent political disruptions, including the murder of a non-compliant Saudi journalist, have rattled investor confidence — something that does not bode well for the crown prince’s bold Vision 2030 program, a drive to diversify the kingdom’s revenue away from hydrocarbons and create private sector jobs.
But international investors flocked to lend money to Saudi Arabia’s hugely profitable state-owned oil company earlier this month. Demand for Saudi Aramco’s bonds surged above $100 billion, according to a source familiar with the situation, more than 10 times the $10 billion that had been expected.
Saudi Arabia has already seen formidable success in its recent tapping of the bond market: It issued $7.5 billion in sovereign bonds in January which drew an impressive $27 billion in orders. Saudi Arabia has “A1” and “A+” ratings from agencies Moody’s and Fitch, respectively, a sign of reliability and low risk for investors.