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U.S. And Saudis? Expect Business As Usual

Rig

Oil prices continued to trend lower this week despite an extraordinary rift between OPEC’s largest producer and the world’s largest oil consumer. On October 2nd, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey and is now reported by Turkish and U.S. media to have been killed at the hands of Saudi Royal guards with ties to Crown Prince MBS. Western condemnation of the event has been swift and the negative consequences for Saudi relations with many of their allies could be significant. After having spent last summer being toasted at the White House, on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, MBS now carries serious reputational risk with U.S. and European ‘elites.’ This week the CEOs of JP Morgan, Blackstone, BlackRock, SocGen and U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (among many other government, media and financial institutions) announced their withdrawal from next week’s ‘Davos in the Desert’ financial conference and there was broad condemnation of the act from both Democrats and Republicans within the U.S. Congress.

Under different circumstances such a significant geopolitical crack between a major supplier and major consumer would cause massive waves in oil prices. In this instance, however, we think the market is right to discount the bullish risk of what reportedly happened to Khashoggi for two reasons; 1- neither the U.S. nor Saudi Arabia want to see higher oil prices and…

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