Saudi stock market larger than country's economy, says CMA chief

With Aramco added, Tadawul's size is four times that of the economy, El-Kuwaiz said

  
Traders monitor stocks at the Saudi Holandi Bank in Riyadh

Traders monitor stocks at the Saudi Holandi Bank in Riyadh

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed
RIYADH: The Saudi stock market is now larger than the Kingdom's entire economy — even without taking Aramco into consideration, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) chairman has said.

Speaking during a session organized by the Saudi Economic Association (SEA), Mohammed El-Kuwaiz revealed there are a further 54 listing applications pending — 31 of which are direct listings — as he highlighted the strength of the Tadawul.

With Aramco added, Tadawul's size is four times that of the economy, El-Kuwaiz said.

He argued the great momentum of a large number of companies for direct listing is because the Kingdom was the first to apply the direct listing mechanism in the GCC region.

He pointed out that CMA is currently evaluating the direct listing mechanism for the possibility of introducing improvements that are needed before applying the experience to the main market.

On the allocation in subscriptions between individuals and institutions, El-Kuwaiz said that the subscription percentage for individuals was determined by the regulations of book building instructions.

Amendments were applied in 2018, including giving the company and financial advisors greater freedom in determining the participating categories in the subscription and allocation ratios.

This increased flexibility significantly for companies that wish to list their shares, and this was one of the many factors that contributed to the success of Saudi Aramco IPO, El-Kuwaiz said.

The allocation ratio between institutions and individuals can change according to the nature of the offering, according to El-Kuwaiz. It can change from one offering and another, and this happened in the IPO of the Saudi Tadawul Group, he said.

El-Kuwaiz added that the role of the main market maker is to provide liquidity in the market, not to protect the market from rising or falling.

He added that there is a market maker in government debt instruments, as they are dealt with directly with a group of banks that buy from the state, and they offer two prices to those wishing to buy and sell.

He highlighted that the Saudi Tadawul Group is working on the development and expansion of the market-making circle to include stocks in the main market and Nomu.

The Saudi Tadawul group is hoping to raise about $1 billion from the IPO it's launching this month, it was reported earlier this week.

The original plan was to allocate 10 percent of the 36 million shares to individuals, before raising it at a later time to 30 percent.

However, it is now going straight for the higher figure, and the Tadawul Group CEO Khalid Alhussan said on Friday this increase had always been considered a potential option.

Retail subscribers in the Saudi market represent a very important tranche in the size or the market attractiveness in terms of daily and monthly turnover, he said.

The process of building the order book for institutions will run from Nov. 21 to Nov. 26.

Saudi Tadawul will launch a new product in the derivatives market and the existing services and products will see further modifications, Alhussan told the Aleqtisadiah newspaper.

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