SAUDI Arabia’s oil company Aramco gained 10% in its first moments on the stock market in a dramatic debut that held until closing and pushed its value up to 1.88 trillion dollars (£1.43tn), surpassing Apple as the largest listed company in the world.

Trading on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange came after a mammoth 25.6 billion (£19.5bn) initial public offering that set the record as the biggest in history, overtaking the 25bn dollars raised by China’s Alibaba in 2014.

Demand during the bookbuilding period for Aramco’s IPO reached 106bn dollars, with most of that generated by Saudi investment.

Aramco, owned by the state, has sold a 1.5% stake in the company, pricing its shares before trading at 32 Saudi riyals, or what is £6.49.

At a pre-trading auction earlier in the morning, bids for Aramco had already reached the 10% limit on stock price fluctuation allowed by Tadawul. That pushed the price of shares in opening moments to 35.2 riyals, or £7.14 a share, where it held until closing.

A attack in September blamed on Iran struck Aramco’s main processing facility, but the company remains attractive to many local investors.

Aramco is worth more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined. It also has one of the lowest costs of production.

Internationally, investors have been spooked by the geopolitical risks associated with Aramco, as well as the Saudi crown prince’s policies and the stain on the kingdom’s reputation following the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey last year.

Rather than float internationally, Aramco sold locally 0.5% of its shares to individual retail investors – most of whom are Saudi nationals – and 1% to institutional investors, most of which are Saudi and Gulf-based funds.

The retail portion was limited to Saudi citizens, residents of Saudi Arabia or nationals of Gulf Arab states. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to use the money raised from the sale of a sliver of the kingdom’s crown jewel to diversify the country’s economy and fund major national projects that create jobs for millions of young Saudis entering the workforce.