Saudi Arabia’s net foreign direct investment rises 5.6% in first quarter

DUBAI (Reuters) – Net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Saudi Arabia rose 5.6% to 9.5 billion riyals ($2.53 billion) in the first quarter of 2024, government data showed on Sunday.

Inflows were up 0.6% to 17 billion riyals in the first three months compared with a year earlier, while outflows fell by 5.1% to about 7.5 billion riyals.

The kingdom hopes to attract $100 billion in FDI by 2030 to boost non-oil gross domestic product as part of a wider strategy by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy away from its reliance on crude oil exports.

Earlier this month, over half of the shares offered under Saudi Aramco’s $11.2 billion secondary share sale were sold to foreign investors.

The oil giant has also helped lift FDI previously, but even with those deals FDI remained far from the 2030 goal, peaking at $32.8 billion in 2022 and reaching $19.2 billion last year.

($1 = 3.7516 riyals)

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni, editing by Sonali Paul)