October 10, 2016 / 6:01 PM / 10 months ago

Saudi stock exchange to trade government debt

2 Min Read

DUBAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, which is financing part of a budget deficit caused by low oil prices with government bonds, will trade the bonds on its stock exchange, the finance ministry said on Monday.

The move may make it easier for the government to issue debt by allowing more types of investor to buy bonds. Since late 2015, the government has offered about 20 billion riyals ($5.3 billion) of domestic bonds to local banks every month, but the banks have found it increasingly hard to buy all the bonds as cheap oil has tightened liquidity.

Government bonds will be registered, listed and traded on the exchange's platform gradually, the finance ministry said without giving details.

Saudi Arabia has set plans to begin meeting with foreign investors this week before making its first international bond issue. It may sell around $10 billion or more of those bonds in one of the largest debt sales by an emerging market economy .

The ministry's statement did not say whether the U.S. dollar bonds could be listed on the Saudi exchange or whether the government would choose to do this. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

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