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Sun 5 Apr 2020 05:41 PM

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Saudi Aramco tests IPO level as payout pledge survives price war

Stock rose as much as 2.8 percent to 32.55 Saudi riyals on Sunday in Riyadh, trading above the 32-riyal IPO level it surrendered a month ago

Saudi Aramco tests IPO level as payout pledge survives price war
Image: AFP

Saudi Aramco shares have shaken off the ravages of an oil-price war to briefly regain the $1.7 trillion valuation that the company achieved in its record-breaking initial public offering.

The stock rose as much as 2.8 percent to 32.55 Saudi riyals on Sunday in Riyadh, trading above the 32-riyal IPO level it surrendered a month ago, only to turn negative in the last 10 minutes of the session and finish 0.5 percent lower.

Aramco’s slump over the past few weeks reflects a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia over production levels and market share for crude oil.

Aramco shares retreated as much as 27 percent from a peak in December to the low plumbed last month, also dragged down by a decline in global oil demand as governments locked down economies to fight the coronavirus.

Saudi Aramco is at the centre a price fight between the kingdom and Russia. The Saudi oil giant delayed the release of its key monthly oil pricing list, which was due on Sunday, until later this week. That should enable it to wait for an indication of what may happen at an OPEC+ meeting planned for Thursday to discuss crude production levels.

Oil posted a record weekly jump last week on hopes that global producers will agree to historic cuts in output.

Even though Brent has slumped almost 50 percent this year, Aramco said March 16 it still intends to distribute at least $75 billion to shareholders in 2020.

The company has outperformed oil majors such as Total SA and BP Plc, which are part of a wider group also retaining hefty payouts.

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