Saudi Arabia’s bourse jumped on Tuesday after the Kingdom’s financial regulator said it would open the stock market to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of 2015.
The main index rose 3.2 per cent, its biggest rise since April 2012, to a fresh six-year high of 10,062 points in the first hour of trade.
Petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), one of the big blue chips which foreign investors would be expected to buy, was the main support, surging 8.8 per cent.
Shares in mobile telecommunications operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) jumped 6.6 per cent, while Al Rajhi Bank, the Kingdom’s biggest listed lender, added 2.9 per cent.
The Capital Market Authority said on Tuesday it would publish next month draft regulations for opening the market; there would then be a 90-day consultation period on the draft.
The statement was issued after the Saudi cabinet announced it had authorised the CMA to open the Arab world’s biggest stock market at a time which the regulator decided was appropriate. Currently, foreigners are limited to investing through swaps or exchange-traded funds.
Elsewhere in the region, Egypt’s bourse added 1.1 per cent after pulling back in the previous two sessions in response to a surprise interest rate hike by the central bank and the deepening crisis in the Palestinian territories.
Commercial International Bank, Egypt’s largest listed lender, was the main support, adding 2.3 per cent. The bank’s board was due to review its second-quarter results on Tuesday.