China and Saudi Arabia signed a number of agreements, including on energy and investments, after their leaders met in Riyadh on Thursday at a summit that showcased deep and growing ties beyond oil.
Saudi Arabia set a valuation target for Aramco’s initial public offering well below Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of $2 trillion and pared back the size of the sale to ensure the world’s largest oil producer successfully lists on the Riyadh stock exchange next month.
For the second straight year, the risks of doing business in Saudi Arabia are pushing their way onto the agenda of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s glittering investment showcase.
From Oslo to Doha, Riyadh to Moscow, governments that rode crude’s historic rise to unprecedented wealth are now being forced to start repatriating their rainy- day funds just to make ends meet. The halving of oil to less than $50 a barrel has the potential to alter one of the most powerful economic and political forces of the past half century: the rise of the petrostate. These countries led a surge in state investments in the U.S. and Europe that now totals about $7.3 trillion globally, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. During the last boom, the oil countries flaunted their wealth abroad by buying stakes in iconic companies such as Barclays Plc as well as trophy assets including Manhattan hotels, European soccer clubs and London luxury homes, often in the face of opposition from the local public. Such swagger is fading.
The US embassy in Riyadh said today it was aware of a possible plot to attack employees working with oil giant Chevron in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil supplier. The embassy has “information stating that, as of early March, individuals associated with a terrorist organisation are targeting employees of Chevron in Saudi Arabia,” according to an e-mailed security message for American citizens over the weekend, which did not give further details.