Paul Ausick, 24/7 Wall Street
Published 12:48 p.m. ET Nov. 5, 2017
FILE- In this March 7, 2010 file photograph, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud attends the speech of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, on the Saudi Shura “consultative” council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes and former authorities ministers, together with a widely known billionaire with intensive holdings in Western corporations, as a part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe, additional cementing King Salman and his crown prince son’s management of the dominion. A high-level worker at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company advised The Associated Press that the royal was amongst these detained in a single day Saturday, Nov. four, 2017.(Photo: Hbadan Ammar, AP)
According to the World Bank’s most up-to-date itemizing, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the world’s 20th largest financial system in 2016 with a gross home product of $646.four billion. In 2014, the Kingdom’s GDP totaled $756.four billion. Something needed to change.
On Saturday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, established an anti-corruption committee beneath the management of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who promptly arrested 11 royal princes, together with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of many world’s richest males and head of an funding agency often called Kingdom Holding which owns main stakes in News Corp., Citigroup, Twitter, Lyft, and 21st Century Fox.
King Salman anointed Mohammed bin Salman (often known as MBS) as Crown Prince and his successor simply final June. Mohammed has pushed exhausting for the preliminary public providing of the nationwide oil firm, Saudi Aramco. While it’s not clear that the 11 royals arrested on Saturday have been among the many most vocal opponents of that plan, there was important opposition among the many royal household to the deliberate IPO. And there’s good cause for that opposition.
The Saudi royal household just isn’t a very unique membership. Estimates of its measurement vary from 15,000 to 30,000 with about 2,000 princes on the prime of the heap. All are descended from the founding father of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, who died in 1953. The present king is ibn Saud’s 25th son and one in all 36 surviving sons from a complete of 45. Ibn Saud had 22 wives (however reportedly not more than four at a time) and has greater than 1,000 grandsons. All are supported by the federal government which is, in flip, supported by the nation’s oil wealth.
Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves whole 269 billion barrels, second solely to Venezuela’s 300 billion barrels. But the Saudi oil is far simpler and cheaper to extract and, consequently, instructions a better value. Petroleum accounts for about 87% of the Kingdom’s finances, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. Oil can also be the principle supply of what can solely be referred to as a royal welfare program that prices billions yearly.
Reuters in 2011 reviewed a trove of U.S. State Department cables obtained by Wikileaks together with one from November 1996 entitled “Saudi Royal Wealth: Where do they get all that money?” The reply is a “formal, budgeted system of monthly stipends that members of the Al Saud family receive.” At the time these stipends ranged in worth from round $800 a month “for the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family” to between $200,000 to $270,000 a month for every surviving son of Ibn Saud.
According to the Reuters report, grandchildren acquired about $27,000 a month, great-grandchildren acquired about $13,000 and great-great-grandchildren bought $eight,000 a month. That’s considerably greater than the common Saudi citizen.
The estimated 2016 inhabitants of Saudi Arabia is round 28.6 million and GDP per capita final 12 months was $55,300 on a buying energy parity (PPP) foundation of an estimated $1.76 trillion. Of the nation’s labor pressure, totally 80% aren’t Saudi nationals and 30% of the overall inhabitants are immigrants in accordance the CIA World Factbook.
The IPO of round 5% of Saudi Aramco is predicted by the Saudis to fetch as much as $2 trillion. That’s greater than double the market cap of Apple, presently the world’s Most worthy firm. The Crown Prince’s plan is to make use of the funds to diversify the Kingdom’s financial system away from oil.
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Sales of crude oil and refined merchandise introduced in $134.four billion final 12 months, down from a peak of $337.5 billion in 2012. The nation has needed to dip into its sovereign reserves which have dropped from a peak of $750 billion in 2014 to under $500 billion presently.
With an IPO comes a requirement for extra transparency than the Saudis are accustomed to. That transparency might result in adjustments — not for the higher — to the royal welfare program and Saturday’s corruption arrests might have rounded up those that have been most vocal of their opposition to the general public providing.
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