Saudi Arabia is set to host an investment conference, the Future Investment Initiative (FII), despite the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, which could impact the stability of the Middle East. More than 5,000 people have registered to attend, with only two withdrawals so far. Swiss bank UBS has restricted travel within the region for its staff, but many banking sources in the Gulf region have not canceled their plans to attend, although this could change if the conflict escalates.
The FII aims to demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s eastward shift in terms of geopolitical and economic alliances. This year’s event will have a significant presence of Asian speakers, with a focus on attracting investment from Asia, particularly China and India. Saudi Arabia is halfway through its Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, seeking to diversify the economy away from oil and attract foreign investment.
Despite the conflict in the region, sovereign dollar bond spreads in Saudi Arabia have only slightly widened, suggesting that investors are closely monitoring the situation for potential spillover effects into the wider region. The outcome of the FII and the kingdom’s ability to attract foreign investors will be closely watched in the context of these geopolitical challenges.