Briefing

Saudi Arabia wants OPEC to hold down oil production until after Aramco goes public

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The kingdom will try to convince the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to continue its 1.2-million-barrel-a-day production cut at a meeting in Austria of the group and 10 other governments on Thursday and Friday. The current deal runs until the end of March 2020, but Saudi Arabia wants it extended until June. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: Saudi Arabia wants to assure the market oil prices will stay high, giving investors confidence in the initial public offering of its state-owned producer, Aramco. The government has already cut its valuation target from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s US$2 trillion target and scaled back the share of the firm it plans to sell from five per cent to less than two per cent after poor demand among international institutional investors. Aramco’s IPO is now targeting Saudi retail investors and funds—as well as neighbouring countries’ investors and sovereign wealth funds—so a dip in prices leading to poor stock performance would be doubly damaging at home.