Saudi Aramco's debut bond sale overshadowed in one deal the amount foreigners have spent on buying stocks in Riyadh over more than three months this year.

The $12 billion in bonds sold this week by the world's most profitable company exceeds by more than three times net inflows from foreigners investing in the Saudi Arabian stock market, which has 203 traded securities.

Inflows to Saudi stocks have been steady since the beginning of the year, as investors anticipate the inclusion of the kingdom in emerging-market benchmarks compiled by FTSE Russell and MSCI Inc. But investors from outside of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council still own just about 5.4 percent of stocks in Riyadh.

Once the index inclusion is fully implemented, the stock exchange could attract as much as $16 billion in passive inflows, the bourse's chief executive officer said last month.

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