- Net inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Saudi Arabia reached 11.4 billion riyals ($2.93 billion) in the third quarter last year, down 10% from the second quarter, government data showed on Wednesday.

FDI totaled 7.2 billion riyals in the third quarter of 2022, the investment ministry said last year, before it adopted a new methodology for FDI calculations.

Attracting FDI to boost non-oil gross domestic product is a key pillar of a wider strategy initiated by the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy and cut reliance on oil exports.

The investment ministry said on Wednesday its new methodology to calculate FDIs takes into consideration all standards of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual.

The analysis is based on independent companies' financial statements, not consolidated companies, to avoid counting subsidiaries twice.

The new calculus does not include non-equity investment or non-monetary contributions like technology, it added.

Under the new system, FDI is evaluated based on a companies' market price as traded on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawal, while non-listed companies will be valued with reference to their accounts.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(Reporting by Pesha Magid, Rachna Uppal; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jan Harvey)