Commentary: No one should be investing in Saudi Arabia unless there is real change

Author: Natasha Turak, CNBC, Published on: 10 January 2019

"Mark Mobius doesn’t think anyone should be investing in Saudi Arabia", 8 January 2019

Now is not a good time to put your money in Saudi Arabia, heavyweight emerging markets investor Mark Mobius believes. The founder of Mobius Capital Partners criticized the kingdom on Monday, telling CNBC’s Hadley Gamble he sees rough times ahead for the country and its neighbors. “The Khashoggi murder is a very bad situation, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t think we should be investing in Saudi Arabia for that reason unless there is some real big change,” Mobius said, referring to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for which the government in Riyadh has been blamed. The kingdom has charged several Saudis for murder, but denies international accusations that its crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had any involvement. A number of investors suspended their investment projects with the kingdom including Virgin CEO Richard Branson, though many others like Blackrock’s Larry Fink have pledged to continue business there... [T]he kingdom inked deals worth up to $50 billion during its Future Investment Initiative, a high-profile promotional summit held in October that many international investors boycotted. It is slated to join the MSCI Emerging Markets index later this year, a move expected to attract some $15 billion in passive funds and many billions more in active funds. A survey carried out before the Khashoggi murder revealed that 75 percent of investment professionals expected more foreign money to flow into locally-held funds in the next five years.

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