Dubai: Nasdaq Dubai plans to start equity futures of leading listed Saudi Arabian companies, giving investors new hedging tools to take long and short positions on the shares.

The companies on which futures will be offered are some of the Middle East’s largest businesses in sectors including petrochemicals, real estate, banking and transport, the exchange said in a statement. Trading will begin in the third quarter.

“The framework that we have built for trading and clearing Saudi futures is based on intensive consultations with regional and international market participants including brokers and potential investors,” Nasdaq Dubai Chief Executive Officer Hamed Ali said. “Our futures will provide further impetus to investment into the Saudi capital markets and help develop new links with market participants.”

Nasdaq Dubai started UAE futures trading in September 2016 with single stock futures on seven UAE-listed companies. That number has since increased to 17, and in February the exchange added futures on Dubai Financial Market’s DFMGI share index as well as the ADI index of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Futures on MSCI’s UAE index will be added soon under a licence agreement signed with MSCI, according to the statement.