Less Than Week After 9/11 Vote, Saudi Arabia Seeks U.S. Cashby and
Officials from Saudi regulator, stock exchange meet investors
Tadawul index on Sunday entered second bear market of 2016
Top Saudi officials and executives are meeting investors in New York to lure overseas cash, less than a week after Congress unblocked legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Arab country.
Saudi Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed Al-Jadaan and Tadawul stock exchange Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al Hussan are among officials attending the two-day event organized by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the bank said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. Senior representatives of the kingdom’s economy ministry and central bank will also be present.
The meetings come at a difficult moment for the Arab world’s largest economy. The U.S. Senate last week voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill allowing Saudi Arabia to be sued for its alleged links to the Sept. 11 attacks, which people familiar with the matter said might delay the country’s first dollar-bond issuance. Meanwhile, the benchmark stock gauge entered its second bear market this year after a series of cuts to government salaries and bonuses triggered a selloff.
“I’m sure they will discuss the implications of the 9/11 bill and try to get rid of the uncertainties around it,” said Robert Hahm, an investment manager at Mashreq Capital DIFC Ltd. in Dubai, which has $1.5 billion of assets under management. “We still don’t know if or how it’ll affect investment in Saudi Arabia and sentiment toward the kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia plans to sell debt and attract foreign investors to its local market as it seeks to plug an estimated shortfall of about $100 billion in its budget this year and fund an economic transformation plan to wean itself off oil revenue.
The Tadawul All Share Index, which fell to the lowest level since 2011 this week, climbed 2 percent in Riyadh on Tuesday. The gauge is the worst performer in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council this year, down about 20 percent.
Representatives of companies including Saudi Telecom Co., Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Samba Financial Group will also attend the meetings, according to the statement. JPMorgan is one of the coordinators of the planned bond sale, which people with knowledge of the matter said in May could raise at least $10 billion.