Saudi Aramco touches $2 trillion in value on second day of trading

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(The Guardian) Saudi Aramco has touched a market value of $2tn a day after the Saudi state-backed oil company made its stock market debut.

The shares rose almost 10% at the open on the second day of trade on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange, lifting the company’s market value briefly to $2tn, before giving up some of their gains.

Shares rose from Wednesday’s close of 35.2 Saudi riyals to a high of 38.7 riyals before easing back to 37.3 riyals.

Aramco became the world’s biggest listed company on Wednesday when its shares rose 10% on the first day of trading, valuing it at $1.87tn. The share price surge was capped at 10% under rules to safeguard market stability.

The two days of gains takes the valuation further ahead of Apple, now the world’s second biggest listed company, which is worth about $1.19tn. Just 1.5% of Aramco’s shares were sold to investors.

The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had sought a $2tn valuation for Aramco but international investors balked at the price in light of lower oil prices, climate change concerns and geopolitical risks.

The float was marketed almost exclusively in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East after receiving a tepid response from international investors, who have also been wary of Aramco’s close ties to the Saudi regime amid human rights concerns after the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi government encouraged Middle Eastern state funds and wealthy Saudi families to support the IPO. Global funds are expected to buy shares as Aramco will be included in global emerging markets indices.

Aramco is the world’s biggest fossil fuel producer. The Saudi state raised $25.6bn through the float and it is understood it will use some of the money to diversify into other technologies and infrastructure as well as for fossil fuels.

The oil producer made profits of $46.9bn in the first six months of this year, down from $53.2bn in the same period last year but still well ahead of the world’s six biggest listed oil companies combined.

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