Saudi Arabia brushed off an outcry over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and went ahead on Tuesday with an investment conference boycotted by Western political figures, leading global bankers and company executives. "Nobody in the kingdom can justify it (Khashoggi's killing) or explain it", he said. Saudi Arabia's stock index was down 1.7% in afternoon trading on persistent investor concern.
Saudi Arabia started signing deals worth more than US$50 billion in sectors including oil, gas and infrastructure at an investment conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. But it later recovered most of the losses.
Saudi Arabia was set to sign deals worth $50 billion on Tuesday at the opening of an investment conference despite being overshadowed by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which prompted a boycott by Western politicians, top world bankers and company executives.
Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. After first denying any involvement in his disappearance, Riyadh on Saturday said Khashoggi died during a fight in the consulate.
Executives from Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the kingdom's sovereign investment vehicle the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi Stock Exchange, Neom and the Saudi economy minister Mohammed Al Tuwaijri will feature on different panels during the three-day event. PIF has committed to invest $45 billion in Vision Fund.
Others are still sending strong representation. Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanné said on Monday he would attend. Russian Federation sent a large delegation led by Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev, who said Saudi Arabia's economic transformation was "important for the world" and that partnerships between sovereign wealth funds was a "great opportunity".
Dmitriev said Saudi Arabia's economic diversification drive was "important for the world" and that Russian companies, mainly oil and petrochemcial firms, want to enter the Saudi market.