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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Saudi Crackdown: A Cause for Market Confidence

The Saudi government sought to confiscate cash and other assets worth as much as $800 billion in ostensibly cracking down on corruption in late 2017. More than 60 princes, officials, and business practitioners were initially detained. Both the figure and the number of arrests reflect merely “the initial stages” of asset seizures and arrests, according to a Saudi spokesman.[1] It was not long before 500 had been detained.[2] I submit that both the swiftness and scope left international investors and foreign businesses in Saudi Arabia unnecessarily rattled. Doubtless uncertainty as to the real reason for the crackdown unnerved the business elite. Corruption was endemic in the Saudi political economy, so the sudden need to crack down on it understandably left people to wonder as to the real reason, which, as it turns out, was nothing for business to fear.

The full essay is at "Political and Market Risk."

[1]Margherita Stancati, “Saudis Target Up to $800 Billion in Assets,” The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2017.
[2] Nicholas Kulish and David Kirkpatrick, “Arrests Reveal Blending of Kin and Kingdom,” The New York Times, November 8, 2017.