Middle East

Saudi Arabia offers first global bonds in economic overhaul

Saudi Arabia says it has offered its first global bonds as part of an economic push to diversify its economy.

The Saudi Finance Ministry said early Thursday it offered $5.17 billion in bonds as part of its first offering. It said the total subscription requests for the bonds reached $67 billion.

In total, the bond sale is expected to be worth $17.5 billion, a massive amount compared to other recent international offerings for traders.

The bond sale comes as part of a wider effort to diversify the economy of the Sunni-ruled kingdom as oil prices have been halved since reaching over $100 a barrel in mid-2014.

Saudi Arabia has cut salaries and benefits to government employees, slowed construction projects and is looking at offering shares in its state-owned oil company.