Advertisement
Features

The price of doing business with Saudi Arabia

The government is eager to do deals with Saudi Arabia, but others are urging caution.

887-queen-634
MBS: welcomed with all the trappings of a state visit

Mohammed bin Salman was officially welcomed to London last week with "all the trappings of a state visit", says the Financial Times. The government's message to the 32-year-old crown prince, known as MBS, was "unambiguous: this is a man to do business with".

No wonder, say Margherita Stancati and Jason Douglas in The Wall Street Journal. Expanding economic links with nations post-Brexit is a "critical goal". Around £65bn of trade and investment could materialise with the UK, says Andy Critchlow in The Daily Telegraph. There's also the potential prize of Aramco, the world's biggest oil firm, being floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But at what cost, asks The Guardian. Saudi is currently playing a leading role in a war in Yemen, fighting Houthi rebels aligned with its chief regional rival, Iran. More than 10,000 people have died, and eight million are said to be at risk of starvation.

Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly raised "deep concerns" about the war with MBS, yet for all the UK's "boasts of providing humanitarian aid", it is also supplying weapons that are "fuelling" the crisis. The end of MBS's visit was marked by a £100m aid deal, and news of a provisional deal for BAE Systems to supply Saudi with 48 Typhoon fighter jets.

The likes of Boris Johnson love MBS because he "buys stuff" and is modernising Saudi, says Christopher de Bellaigue in The Spectator. But MBS needs the West, too. With the population and unemployment rising, the kingdom needs foreign investment to avoid burning its reserves on welfare spending. We should be wary, says the Financial Times. MBS shows no sign of wanting "to allow greater participation in political life". This is a concern that the "kingdom's allies... should be voicing. MBS, the strongman in the making, would be wise to listen."

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly
Economy

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly

The political Brexit pantomime aside, Britain is in pretty good shape. With near-record employment, strong wage growth and modest inflation, there is …
17 Oct 2019
We're all going to have to be a lot more flexible
UK Economy

We're all going to have to be a lot more flexible

As the world gets older, we'll all have to retire later and finance it for longer. That's going to take a major rethink about an awful lot of things, …
6 Aug 2020
Businesses must be bold if they want to survive
UK Economy

Businesses must be bold if they want to survive

It’s a difficult time for companies, but battening down the hatches is the wrong approach, says Matthew Lynn.
2 Aug 2020

Most Popular

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it
Income investing

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it

BP has bowed to the inevitable and cut its dividend in half – and its share price promptly rose. John Stepek explains what it means for shareholders …
4 Aug 2020
Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences
Stockmarkets

Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences

Private equity is taking over from public stockmarkets as the biggest provider of capital to companies. That’s bad for investors and bad for society a…
3 Aug 2020
Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?
Gold

Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?

With the price of gold shooting through $2,000 an ounce, the yellow metal looks unstoppable. Things are so bullish, even Aim-listed junior gold miners…
5 Aug 2020