• 2 minutes Rational analysis of CV19 from Harvard Medical School
  • 4 minutes While U.S. Pipelines Are Under Siege, China Streamlines Its Oil and Gas Network
  • 7 minutes Renewables Overtake Coal, But Lag Far Behind Oil And Natural Gas
  • 3 hours China wields coronavirus to nationalize American-owned carmaker
  • 43 mins Joe Biden the "Archie Bunker" of the left selects Kamala Harris for VP . . . . . . Does she help the campaign ?
  • 9 hours Open letter from Politico about US-russian relations
  • 3 days Trumpist lies about coronavirus too bad for Facebook - BANNED!
  • 1 day US will pay for companies to bring supply chains home from China: Kudlow - COVID-19 has highlighted the problem of relying too heavily on one country for production
  • 3 days China's impending economic meltdown
  • 9 hours Oil Tanker Runs Aground in Mauritius - Oil Spill
  • 18 hours Trump is turning USA into a 3rd world dictatorship
  • 3 hours Trump Hands Putin Major Geopolitical Victory
  • 3 hours COVID&life and Vicious Circle: "Working From Home Is Not Panacea For Virus"
  • 2 days Liquid Air Battery
  • 2 days What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power (BBC)
  • 3 days The Truth about Chinese and Indian Engineering
Oil Prices Rally On COVID Optimism

Oil Prices Rally On COVID Optimism

Oil markets reacted bullishly to…

Feeling The Oil Squeeze: Saudi King Ousts Finance Minister

Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister for twenty years, has been excused from his long-held position and reappointed as state minister. The move is part of a wider government reshuffle prompted by the persistently low oil prices that have opened an uncomfortably wide gap in the kingdom’s state budget.

Al-Assaf will be replaced by Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who previously served as chief of the country’s Capital Markets Authority.

Earlier this year, the Saudi king, or rather Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was put in charge of reforms, removed Saudi Arabia’s long-serving Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi from his position, replacing him with Khalid al-Falih. The prince also appointed HSBC’s former head of Middle East and North Africa operations Mohammad Al Tuwaijri as Deputy Economic Minister.

Last week, both Al-Tuwaijri and Al-Assaf took part in a popular talk show on Saudi TV to defend a set of austerity measures aimed at propping up the kingdom’s finances. The country last year booked a budget deficit of over 15 percent of GDP, and this year the IMF expects another deficit, albeit a bit smaller, at 13 percent of GDP.

The two ministers discussed – and defended – the steps taken to mitigate the effects of this deficit, such as canceling fuel subsidies and cutting the public administration wages by as much as 20 percent – things that did boost their popularity in the eyes of Saudi citizens, especially public servants, who complained loudly about the cuts.

Al-Tuwaijri, for his part, accused public employees of being lazy and inefficient, and stressed that this would need to change to bring an economic recovery to Saudi Arabia after being punched by lingering low oil prices that they had hoped would have already recovered.

As Bloomberg notes in a recap of the TV show, the Deputy Economy Minister also indirectly slammed Al-Assaf for unwise investments made in the past at a time when petrodollars were pouring in.

The Finance Minister defended himself over those investment decisions, but apparently not convincingly enough. His removal signals that the kingdom’s new rulers are set on doing whatever they can to reverse its failing fortunes.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage



Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News