Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund raised a loan of up to $5 billion from a group of nine banks in a deal that involves the Korean export credit agency to help boost trade between the two countries.
The Public Investment Fund, which manages about $778 billion in assets, has agreed the initial $3 billion loan with a tenor of 13 years with Korea Trade Insurance Corp. and has an option to boost it to $5 billion, according to a statement on Tuesday.
The deal is the first export credit agency financing by the PIF and will help the fund and its subsidiaries finance exports from Korea to Saudi Arabia.
“Through this financial support, Korean companies have not only gained technological competitiveness but also financial competitiveness to increase orders,” Inho Lee, President of K-Sure, as the Korean agency is known, said in the statement.
The PIF has been increasingly turned to borrowing for its huge investment plans in Saudi Arabia. Since 2022, it has raised $8.5 billion from two green bond sales and a $17 billion loan.
The fund is an instrumental part of a diversification plan championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after transforming from a domestically-focused holding company into a sovereign fund in 2016. While part of those plans will be funded by oil revenue, the government also needs to attract foreign investment and borrow.
The PIF plans to invest an average of $40 billion a year in the kingdom as it looks to develop projects including the $500 billion city Neom to diversify its oil dependent economy. Even though the price at relatively high at current levels, the kingdom is forecasting several years of budget deficits.