TORONTO – Saudi Arabia has directed asset managers to sell off Canadian equities as part of an escalating response to criticism from Canada according to a report by the Financial Times.
The Saudi central bank and state pension funds have sent instructions to overseas asset managers to dispose of Canadian equities, bond, and cash holdings at any cost, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.
The report comes a day after the Toronto Stock Market saw a major selloff from an unknown international dealer, in contrast to gains in other global markets.
The equities selloff comes after Canada’s Global Affairs Ministry expressed concern about the arrest and detention of a female blogger and activist in Saudi Arabia, prompting the kingdom to respond forcefully.
Saudi Arabia has declared a freeze on new trade with Canada and recalled thousands of students attending Canadian universities following the tweet last week from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The Saudi foreign ministry has also ordered Canada’s ambassador, Dennis Horak, to leave the country. Saudia Airlines has also announced it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting Aug. 13.
More on the dispute: