The Saudi Capital Market Authority said in a statement on Monday that foreign ownership in the market rose to about 347 billion riyals at the end of 2022, equivalent to 14.2 percent of the total value of free float shares in the main market, up from about 86.86 billion riyals in 2018, which represents 3.77 percent of the total value of free float shares in the main market for that year.
Since 2015, when the Saudi capital market was opened directly to foreign investors, the Saudi market has moved from a local market to a market in which foreign investors contribute more than 17% of daily trading, up from 4%, according to a statement by the Capital Market Authority.
The Kingdom's main capital market has witnessed a rise in foreign investments to reach historically unprecedented record levels, with net foreign investment exceeding SAR 180 billion from 2018 to 2022, and the contribution of foreign investors in corporate offerings has doubled, in addition to the increase in foreign investors' ownership in the Saudi debt instruments market by more than 10 times since the debt instruments market opened to all categories of foreign investors without restrictions by the end of 2020.
The rate of increase in foreign investments during 2022 is the highest since the market joined the emerging market indices in 2019, which contributed to an increase in the ownership of qualified foreign investors by 1877 percent by the end of 2022 to reach 271.23 billion riyals, compared to 13.7 billion riyals in 2018 and 134.48 billion riyals in 2019, while the percentage of ownership of qualified foreign investors constituted 78 percent of the total foreign investments in the Saudi market by the end of last year.
The Undersecretary of the Capital Market Authority for Listed Companies and Investment Products, Abdullah bin Ghannam, said that the CMA aims to increase the participation of foreign investors in the Saudi capital market through many efforts made by the CMA during the past period, most notably allowing foreign investors to invest directly in debt instruments, approving the instructions for international securities depository centers, which contributes to facilitating procedures for attracting foreign investments in the local sukuk and debt instruments market, and approving the draft rules governing foreign investment in Securities recently, to achieve a great convergence between the requirements for opening investment accounts for foreign and local investors, and facilitate the procedures for foreign investors to enter the Saudi capital market, and make them more available in other investment categories.
He added that the CMA's strategic plan and its main axes aim to raise the status of the Saudi market and its global classification, which contributes to raising the attractiveness and efficiency of the capital market and enhancing its competitiveness regionally and internationally, which includes raising the attractiveness of the market to foreign investors as one of its strategic objectives.