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Trump pleas for Saudi Arabia to list state oil company in U.S.

A monitor displays BlackRock Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Jan. 17, 2017. (Michael Nagle / Bloomberg)
A monitor displays BlackRock Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Jan. 17, 2017. (Michael Nagle / Bloomberg)
By Ken Sweet Associated Press

NEW YORK – President Donald Trump sent a plea Saturday for Saudi Arabia to list its massive state-run oil company, Saudi Aramco, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trump tweeted Saturday morning that he would “very much appreciate” that the Saudis would list Saudi Aramco in the U.S., saying it is “important to the United States!”

Saudi Arabia is expected to take a small portion of Saudi Aramco, which controls some of the world’s largest oil reserves, public some time in 2018.

While it is expected to list its shares on Saudi Arabia’s own stock market, known as Tadawul, it’s also expected to do what’s known as a dual listing with another stock exchange internationally. When Saudi Aramco goes public, it is expected to be one of the world’s most valuable companies.

London and other major cities with exchanges have also been vying for the international listing. However the state-owned oil giant’s finances have long been opaque and there’s reportedly concerns that a public listing in New York or London, for example, could bring with it unwanted scrutiny and demands for transparency by shareholders.

The New York Stock Exchange is the world’s largest stock exchange by market value, with more than $21 trillion in market value of the companies listed there. Several other international companies have dual listings with the NYSE, including Chinese technology giant Alibaba, Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda and European banks like Deutsche Bank and UBS.

While previous presidents have championed the New York Stock Exchange’s role in international finance – Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush visited the floor of the NYSE during their presidencies – typically a president would not weigh into where a company would decide where to list its shares, since that’s a private company decision.

The flotation is part of a broad effort to raise Saudi Arabia’s profile and boost government revenues after a sharp drop in oil prices hindered its ability to pay for large infrastructure projects and subsidies that citizens have come to rely on. Saudi Arabia, like other oil-producing countries in the Persian Gulf, have been hurt by low global energy prices.

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