US President Donald Trump publicly appealed on Saturday for Riyadh to choose New York to list shares of national oil giant Saudi Aramco, saying it was in the US national interest.
According to Reuters, Trump did not say why he chose to raise the issue at this time or whether he was responding to any information about the NYSE’s bid. But by describing the listing as a priority for Washington, he could help to sway the Saudis’ decision.
“Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Important to the United States!”
The Saudi government, seeking to raise money as low oil prices strain its finances, plans to offer around 5 percent of Aramco next year in a sale which officials say could raise about $100 billion, making it the world’s largest-ever initial public offer.
Saudi authorities have said they intend to list Aramco in Riyadh and on one or more foreign exchanges, setting off a competition between New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and other bourses to host the IPO.
An Aramco spokesman had no comment on Trump’s tweet, while a spokeswoman for the NYSE declined to comment. NYSE Group president Thomas Farley said at a conference in Riyadh last week that he had not given up on the IPO and was in talks with Saudi authorities.
The London Stock Exchange has also enjoyed some government support in its bid, though the support has been less public. Prime Minister Theresa May and the chief of the LSE pitched investments in Britain to the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund on a visit to Riyadh earlier this year.