Saudi Arabia opens $585B stock market to foreigners as kingdom tries to offset low oil prices

Energy Associated Press

Saudi Arabia's stock exchange, valued at $585 billion, has opened up to direct foreign investment for the first time.

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The decision to open up the Tadawul stock exchange on Monday comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia, whose revenue has taken a hit from the plunge in oil prices over the past year. The kingdom is the world's largest exporter of crude oil.

The stock exchange's estimated value makes it the biggest in the Middle East.

Petrochemical firms make up a fifth of Tadawul, with heavyweights like Saudi Basic Industries Corp. among those listed.

Investors say opening up the stock market may not attract an immediate influx of foreign investment, but is a sign that the traditionally cautious kingdom is liberalizing its economy.