Khashoggi death leaves Saudis facing global anger
The global storm that blew up in the wake of the revelation that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey will continue to blow for months to come. Saudi Arabia faces sanctions and the threat of the withdrawal of goodwill by political allies and investors alike in the wake of the murder of the dissident journalist. The US Treasury announced in Novem- ber 2018 that it had sanctioned 17 o cials in Saudi Arabia over October’s killing of Khashoggi at the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. These include two key advisers to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. US President Donald Trump has acknowledged that bin Salman “could very well” have known about Khashoggi’s murder. But he has strongly defended ties with Saudi Arabia despite international condemnation of Khashoggi’s murder. The kingdom is a “steadfast partner” that has agreed to invest “a record amount of money” in the US, Mr Trump said. However, US media have reported that the CIA believes Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; Larry Fink of BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager; and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity rm all joined the exodus of corpo- rate titans, media companies and sponsors that withdrew from Saudi Arabia’s agship business in Riyadh two weks after the murder, which was meant to present the kingdom’s modernising face.
IMF raises 2019 forecast again
The International Monetary Fund has raised its growth forecast for 2019 for the second time in just three months in its October 2018 world economic outlook. The Saudi economy is set to post growth of 2.2% in 2018 according to the IMF, which raised its forecast from 1.9% contained in its July 2018 Article IV assessment of the economy. It con rmed its July forecasts for growth in its October world economic outlook of 2.4% in 2019 from its forecast of 1.9% in its April 2018 biannual economic forecasts. The IMF said growth was expected to pick up further over the medium-term as the reforms take hold and oil output increases. O cial gures showed that the economy grew in the second quarter of 2018 at its fastest pace for over a more than a year. It expanded 1.6% in the April-June quarter from a year earlier. That was up from 1.2% in the rst quarter and the fastest growth since the fourth quarter of 2016. But the private sector remained sluggish at 1.8%, weighed down by austerity steps, while the government sector rise by 4.0%. Saudi Arabia’s non-oil business continues to tick up, according to the latest snapshot survey. The headline PMI published by Emir- ates NDB rose to 53.8 in October 2018 from 53.4 in September, on an index where any number over 50 indicates expansion. The rise was based on employment and new order growth picking up.