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| 22 February, 2018

MSCI decision on Saudi Arabia to be independent of Aramco listing- executive

If the Aramco IPO happens, where it lists, what and how it lists is independent of what MSCI will do to classify, says head of MSCI for the Middle East.

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016.

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

ABU DHABI - Global index compiler MSCI's impending decision on whether to upgrade Saudi Arabia to emerging market status will be independent of the stock market's ability to absorb the listing of Saudi Aramco, an MSCI executive said on Thursday.

"It is not a factor," Robert Ansari, head of MSCI for the Middle East, told reporters at a financial conference in Abu Dhabi, when asked if the two issues were linked.

"If the Aramco IPO happens, where it lists, what and how it lists is independent of what MSCI will do to classify."

The government plans to sell about 5 percent of the national oil firm in the second half of 2018, hoping to raise some $100 billion or more in what would likely be the world's biggest initial public offer.

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Authorities have said Aramco will be listed in Riyadh and possibly also in one or more foreign markets. The size of the IPO has raised concern among fund managers about the ability of the Saudi market, which has a capitalisation of about $470 billion, to absorb it smoothly.

MSCI is expected to announce its decision in June on a potential upgrade of Saudi Arabia to emerging market status.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Writing by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((Saeed.Azhar@thomsonreuters.com; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: saeed.azhar.reuters.com@reuters.net))