Saudi Arabia wants the state-owned Aramco's initial public offering to be successful because it needs to attract foreign investment, more clearly: it needs money, former CIA chief David Petraeus told CNBC on Thursday.
"The fact is that Saudi Arabia is gradually running out of money and will be the first to admit that the SWF has shrunk," General Petraeus, who now heads KKR Global Institute, told his host, Hadley Gamble, in a television interview. 500 billion dollars now. "
He added that "the deficit (in the budget), according to the price of Brent crude, could range between 40 and 60 billion dollars based on some of their activities in the countries of the region."
“The bottom line is that they need money, and they need that important foreign investment to achieve the 2030 vision that cannot be achieved without foreign investment.
Saudi Arabia plans to launch a small part of the oil giant, Aramco, the most profitable company in the world, in December. The idea for the IPO was first put forward in 2016 by Crown Prince Alain Mohammed bin Salman, who later said he believed the company was worth about $ 2 trillion.
The proposal is seen as part of the Crown Prince's Vision 2030 program of political and social reforms, designed to diversify the kingdom's economy and reduce its dependence on oil.
Saudi Arabia does not publicly disclose the amount of assets it holds in its sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund.
The International Finance Institute (IIF), in a report last June, estimated that the kingdom has assets worth about $ 300 billion, with nearly a quarter of its assets abroad.
The SWFI estimates the assets at $ 320 billion, and the Public Investment Fund says on its website that it is "seeking to become one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world."