Foreigners sold a net SAR4.01bn ($1.07bn) in Saudi stocks in the week ending October 18, exchange data showed on Sunday – one of the biggest selloff since the market opened to direct foreign buying in mid-2015.
The selloff came during a week when investors were rattled by Saudi Arabia’s deteriorating relations with foreign powers following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Riyadh said on Saturday that Khashoggi died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate, its first acknowledgement of his death after denying for two weeks that it was involved in his disappearance.
A breakdown of the data showed foreigners sold SAR5bn worth of stocks and bought SAR991.3m worth.
The Saudi stock market is down about 4 per cent since Khashoggi disappeared on October 2. The market had started to weaken before the incident as foreign funds slowed their buying after MSCI’s announcement in June that the kingdom will be included in its global emerging market benchmark next year.
As of Sunday, the Saudi index was up 5 per cent so far this year, but down 5 per cent this quarter.