An investor walks past a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Picture: REUTERS
An investor walks past a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Picture: REUTERS

Riyadh — Saudi Aramco shares have shaken off the ravages of an oil-price war to briefly regain the $1.7-trillion valuation that the company achieved in its record-breaking initial public offering (IPO).

The stock rose as much as 2.8% to 32.55 Saudi riyals on Sunday in Riyadh, trading above the 32-riyal IPO level it surrendered a month ago, only to turn negative in the last 10 minutes of the session and finish 0.5% lower.

Aramco’s slump over the past few weeks reflects a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia over production levels and market share for crude oil.

Aramco shares retreated as much as 27% from a peak in December to the low plumbed last month, also dragged down by a decline in global oil demand as governments locked down economies to fight the coronavirus.

Saudi Aramco is at the centre of a price fight between the kingdom and Russia. The Saudi oil giant delayed the release of its monthly oil pricing list, which was due on Sunday, until later this week. That should enable it to wait for an indication of what may happen at an Opec+ meeting planned for Thursday to discuss crude production levels.

Oil posted a record weekly jump last week on hopes that global producers will agree to historic cuts in output.

Even though Brent has slumped almost 50% this year, Aramco said on March 16 it still intends to distribute at least $75bn to shareholders in 2020. The company has outperformed oil majors such as Total and BP, which are part of a wider group also retaining hefty payouts.

Bloomberg