By Arab News
Saudi Aramco shares roared ahead again on Thursday taking the world’s biggest company close to the coveted $2 trillion valuation that some analysts had suggested was unrealistic before its market debut this week.
Aramco shares advanced to as much as SR38.70L ($10.32), lifting its valuation above $2 trillion and closing at SR36.80 — up 4.5 percent on Wednesday when the shares climbed by the maximum 10 percent allowed in a session.
The Aramco buying frenzy appeared to have sucked some liquidity from the wider market which closed about 1.6 percent lower.
“Initial price action has validated our thesis that Aramco discounted its IPO price to leave upside on the table and allow regional investors to benefit from the listing of its crown jewel,” Dubai-based Dalma Capital said in a note on Thursday.
Oil prices also gained on Thursday as OPEC forecast a supply deficit in 2020 and the US Federal Reserve said the economic outlook was positive.
Brent crude gained 45 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $64.17 in afternoon trade in London despite a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that predicted a sharp rise in global stocks despite the latest agreement by OPEC and its allies to further cut production.
The Aramco share sale took place at a turbulent time for the global oil industry, increasingly under the spotlight because of its greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a global supply glut caused in part by the growth of the US shale oil sector has dampened investor sentiment toward the sector. Plans for the share sale faced a further shock in September when Saudi Aramco’s main oil processing facility in Abqaiq was hit in a drone attack.
Despite the unfavorable global market mood, the Saudi government pressed ahead with the sale that has long been a cornerstone of the Kingdom’s efforts to modernize its economy and develop its financial sector.
It is expected to be followed by more privatizations as Saudi Arabia seeks to curb its budget deficit.
Announcing the Saudi budget earlier in the week, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that the proceeds from the Aramco IPO would be reinvested, helping to create more revenue channels for the government.