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Oil report

UPDATE 1-Saudi to allow foreigners to invest directly in debt instruments

(adds details, background)

RIYADH, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) said on Wednesday it will allow foreigners to invest directly in debt instruments, furthering open the Saudi market to outside investors.

The market regulator said resident and non-resident foreigners would be able to invest in listed and non-listed debt instruments.

Saudi Arabia’s reforms to develop and open up its capital markets are part of Vision 2030, an economic reform plan aimed at boosting growth in the private sector and at diversifying the country’s economy beyond oil.

The Saudi main stock exchange, Tadawul, opened to foreign investors in 2015. The kingdom has since introduced a raft of reforms to attract overseas share buyers and issuers as part of efforts to lure foreign capital and diversify the oil-dependent economy.

This decision will help “enhance the investment environment attractive for foreign investors, thus contributing to raising the efficiency of the market and increasing its competitiveness regionally and internationally”, the CMA said in its statement.

Non-resident foreigners will not be able to invest as direct investors in listed debt instruments and at the same time invest as a qualified foreign investor or an ultimate beneficiary in swap agreements, a vehicle that allows foreigners to buy into listed stocks through intermediaries.

In addition, foreigners who invest directly in debt instruments may not covert them into shares listed in the main market unless they are among the categories allowed to invest directly in listed shares in the main market or become an an ultimate beneficiary in a swap agreements, according to the statement.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by John Stonestreet and Alison Williams

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