December 3, 2017 / 6:18 PM / a year ago

Foreigners marginal net sellers of Saudi stocks in latest week

DUBAI, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Foreign investors were net sellers of Saudi Arabian equities for a fourth straight week after authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption, but by a very small margin, exchange data showed on Sunday.

Dozens of top officials and businessmen were arrested and over 2,000 bank accounts frozen, risking damage to the economy. However, in recent days the threat to the economy has appeared to ease, with the number of frozen accounts starting to fall and some suspects reaching settlements with the government.

Foreign investors sold 546 million riyals ($146 million) of stocks in the week through Nov. 30 and bought 528 million riyals, resulting in net selling of 18 million riyals.

That was much smaller than net selling of 237 million riyals in the previous week, 309 million riyals two weeks ago and 1.08 billion riyals in the week to Nov. 9, immediately after the crackdown was announced.

The latest data also showed that Saudi individual investors sold 14.84 billion riyals of stocks in the latest week and bought 12.65 billion riyals, for net selling of 2.19 billion riyals. In the previous week, they sold a net 1.00 billion riyals.

Saudi institutions, mostly corporations and mutual funds, were net buyers by 2.05 billion riyals in the latest week, compared with net buying of 1.34 billion riyals in the previous week.

Regional asset managers believe some of the buying by institutions in recent weeks has been by state-linked funds deliberately supporting the market to avert a panic. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

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