Saudis Move To Create Stock Market

December 30, 2002 ( - Saudi Arabia has put forth a proposal to create a formal stock market to replace the current interbank bourse stock market exchange, according to a Dow Jones report.

The proposal calls for a holding company to be formed, Capital Market Authority, to regulate the stock market.  That company would assume responsibilities from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the central bank that regulates the Saudi bourse.

Saudi’s interbank bourse, the largest in the Arab world, was formed in 1985 and currently is capitalized at $74 billion.   However, only 27% of the stocks are freely traded, with most equity held by the government and large business families.   Currently 68 companies are listed on the bourse, only 13 of which have listed in the past decade.

The draft law has been passed by Saudi Arabia’s advisory Shoura Council and will now be presented for cabinet approval.