July 22, 2014 / 9:47 AM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-MSCI could review Saudi Arabia as emerging market next year

(Corrects to say MSCI may review Saudi Arabia as emerging market in June 2015, rather than make a decision then)

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - Index compiler MSCI will consult with investors about adding Saudi Arabia to its broader stock indices and could place it on review for classification as an emerging market in June 2015, an MSCI official said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia plans to open its stock market, the Arab world’s biggest, to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of next year, the market regulator said on Tuesday.

Sebastien Lieblich, executive director in the index research team at MSCI, said MSCI would wait for the changes to be implemented before consulting investors. He added that a final decision as to whether to include it as an emerging market was unlikely to be made before June 2016.

“We need to be convinced that everything is at emerging market standards,” he said.

If Saudi Arabia only partially opens up to foreign investors, in the same way as the Chinese domestic “A” share market, it would likely be a standalone index, Lieblich added. (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Sujata Rao)

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