Saudi Aramco shares open at 37 riyals on third day of trading

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Saudi Aramco’s shares rose nearly 1 percent to 37.10 riyals ($9.89) at open on Sunday, giving the energy firm a valuation of $1.98 trillion on its third day of trading.

Investors and market participants around the world have been watching Aramco’s stock with peeled eyes as the oil giant flirts with the $2 trillion valuation, which has been a target for the Saudi Arabian government.

The company breached the symbolic mark several times during Thursday, before closing with a market cap of $1.96 trillion on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

Aramco’s IPO raised $25.6 billion, the largest in history, beating out Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014. It is now the most valuable company in the world ahead of Apple Inc and is worth more than all five energy majors combined.

Investors have long been attracted to Aramco for its profitability and for having the lowest average cost of crude oil production in the world, at around $3 a barrel. It also sits on one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, about 10 times larger than those of its next biggest competitor ExxonMobil.

The company's shares will join the Tadawul index and global benchmarks such as MSCI later this week, a move that will spur additional demand.

Aramco, which has set a base dividend of $75 billion in 2020, reported a profit of $68 billion for the first nine months of 2019. Exxon Mobil, the second largest energy firm with a $300 billion valuation, earned $8.7 billion in the same period.

The listing is a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to wean the Kingdom off its reliance on oil and diversify the economy.

The program, which calls for economic and social reforms along with massive investments in infrastructure and technology, was first announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in 2016. Proceeds from the Aramco IPO are set to support this plan.