Washington: President Donald Trump said the US would “very much appreciate" if the government of Saudi Arabia listed oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co.—better known as Aramco—on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

“Important to the United States!" Trump said in a Twitter post from Honolulu early Saturday, hours before he was set to depart for an 11-day tour of Asia.

Trump’s tweet came out of the blue for Saudi Aramco, according to a person familiar with the company, who asked not to be named. A spokesperson of Saudi Aramco declined to comment.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is currently deciding where to stage what could be the world’s largest initial public offering. Choosing New York in addition to Tadawul, the Saudi exchange, could boost the longstanding strategic alliance between the two countries.

The head of Tadawul said in late October that the Saudi exchange wants to be the exclusive venue for the IPO, telling the Financial Times the exchange was doing what it takes “to make sure Aramco is listed here only."

“Our aspiration for Tadawul, as the main exchange in the region, is to be the exclusive venue for Aramco," said Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan, chief executive officer of Tadawul.

The Saudi government may also be reluctant to list Aramco on NYSE because doing so may require greater disclosure of sensitive company information than listing in London or Hong Kong, or seeking private financing.

The sale of around 5% of Aramco as early as the second half of 2018 is a tentpole of the Vision 2030 reform plan championed by Prince Mohammed, which is intended to diversify the kingdom’s economy and invest more heavily in infrastructure. Estimates for the sale proceeds range between $50 billion and $100 billion, and investment banks across the world are eager to reap fees from the offering. Bloomberg

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