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Saudi Aramco and the Tokyo Stock Exchange are considering setting up a joint group to study a potential listing of the state energy giant in Japan, the governments of both countries said on the second day of King Salman’s visit to the Asian country.

Global stock exchanges are scrambling to get a piece of the world’s biggest ever flotation, with New York and London fighting to be the lead international listing venues, alongside a domestic offering on the Saudi Tadawul.

The kingdom seeks to sell 5 per cent in the world’s largest oil producer, in an offering planned for late 2018, which could value Saudi Aramco at $2tn, according to Saudi officials. Analysts have questioned the valuation but even if it reaches just half that target it would still raise $50bn.

Asia is considered a key part of Saudi Arabia and its state energy company’s growth strategy, and the region’s exchanges cannot be ruled out especially if Saudi Aramco lists on more than two exchanges.

Hong Kong has revealed it has both approached the company, while Tokyo has high-level backing within the Japanese government.

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