Following the gruesome death of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist, in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, foreign investors are reportedly selling off Saudi stocks faster than ever
A report by Bloomberg states that foreigners were net sellers of a nearly $1.1bn of stocks last week – more than any other since data was first made available in 2015, barring a one-time outflow in September 2017.
A majority of the sales come from qualified foreign institutional investors, who were first allowed to trade directly in the market three years ago. Local retail investors were also net sellers, while Saudi institutions were net purchasers.
The week’s sell-offs comes a week after investors showed concerns following the deteriorating relations between Saudi Arabia and key foreign governments following the disappearance and death of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was a columnist for the Washington Post and an outright critic of the Saudi Arabian establishment.
The Saudi Arabian stock exchange or Tadawul has been working on reforms at aligning the market with international standards, in a bid to diversify the economy. By 2019, Saudi Arabia is expected to be announced as an emerging market.
Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia had the biggest outflow among exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that buy emerging markets last week – giving rise to speculatio that government-tied funds could be pushing share prices. Numbers provided by the stock exchange on Sunday show that Saudi institutional investors were net buyers of 7.8 billion riyals in the week ended Oct. 18, the highest value since June 2017.