INVESTMENT FOCUS-Foreigners queue for opening of $500 bln Saudi bourse
* Saudi among last big bourses to allow direct foreign investment
* Move likely to start process of joining benchmark indexes
* This could take at least two years - MSCI researcher
* Benchmark inclusion could attract up to $24 billion - HSBC
By Karin Strohecker
LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - As Saudi Arabia's $500 billion-plus bourse prepares to open its doors to foreigners in June, outside investors appear ready to accept the political and financial risks as they finally get access to a market that rivals Brazil and Russia's.
Worth more than all other Gulf Arab markets combined, it is one of the last major global bourses to allow direct investment from foreigners and the opening is the most anticipated economic reform in the region of recent times.
The move is likely to start the process of incorporating Saudi Arabia into major equity indices by the likes of MSCI, and this could attract as much as $24 billion in foreign capital, according to one estimate.
Foreigners will still not have unfettered access and definitive rules have yet to be published. And yet the prospect of market opening has already helped the Saudi stock index to outperform its Gulf peers over the past 12 months, as this graphic shows: link.reuters.com/cun29t Continuación...