As the world economy weakens, Saudi Arabia’s growth has been boosted by high oil prices

While the outlook for the global economy is bleak with the risk of a recession, Saudi Arabia is one of the big winners from the current situation, marked especially by the energy crisis in Europe. After several years of low oil prices, the oil monarchy benefited from the rise in oil prices that accompanied the post-Covid recovery and the war in Ukraine. Result: in the second quarter, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) jumped 11.8%, following the already good first quarter with an increase of 9.6%. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), annual growth in Saudi Arabia is expected to increase to 7.6% in 2022.

This growth is the result of “a significant increase in oil activities of 23.1%, in addition to an increase in non-oil activities of 5.4%,” said the General Statistics Authority on Sunday.

In general, the increase in the price of crude oil has benefited the countries that export, including the Gulf, which has been requested by the Western powers asking them to open the gates of production to calm the markets and thus limiting global inflation. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who has effectively ruled the country since 2017, received US President Joe Biden in early July and met French Head of State Emmanuel Macron this week.

OPEC+ meeting this week

However, for now, Saudi Arabia, which leads OPEC+ with Russia, has resisted and stuck to the production commitments of this powerful cartel of exporting countries. With another meeting of OPEC + scheduled this week, analysts do not expect a change in policy. On Friday, with little hope of an increase in future supply, oil prices ended higher, as fears of a slowdown in activity persisted.

The barrel of American West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in the same month ended up 2.28% at 98.62 dollars. Earlier in the session, the American barrel rose by more than 5%. The barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in September, which was the last day of trading, ended at 110.01 dollars, up 2.67%.

“Oil prices rallied after Exxon and Chevron expressed optimism about the prospects for crude oil demand and expectations that OPEC + will not increase production in September,” said Edward Moya of Oanda. ,

Market participants expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its ten partners (OPEC+) to leave their production targets for September unchanged at their next videoconference meeting on Wednesday in Vienna, the cartel headquarters.

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BIN LADEN’S FAMILY DONATED 1 MILLION POUNDS on THE PRINCE CHARLES FOUNDATION

Prince Charles, heir to the British crown, accepted a donation to his foundation of one million pounds (1.21 million euros) from the bin Laden family, according to the Sunday Times. Several of his advisors would have pleaded with the foundation not to accept this payment from the wealthy family of the mastermind of the attacks on September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden, according to sources cited in the British newspaper article. Although the members of the Saudi family who rejected Osama bin Laden are not suspected of a possible violation, this information has raised the attention surrounding the foundation of Prince Charles which was investigated by the police launched in February.

This investigation aims to establish whether donations to the Prince Charles Foundation were rewarded with honorary titles and used to support a request for naturalization of a Saudi businessman, Mahfouz Marei Mubarak ben Mahfouz. The donation agreement of one million pounds from the patriarch of the Saudi family, Bakr bin Laden (Osama’s half-brother) and his brother Shafik, began in 2013 at a meeting in London between Bakr bin Laden and Prince Charles, according to the Sunday Times.

Ian Cheshire, the foundation’s chairman, said the donation was accepted at the time by all five trustees. The case in which Scotland Yard launched an investigation was revealed last year and spanned the heir to the British throne for 73 years.

His former assistant valet Michael Fawcett, known to be very close to Charles, is suspected of using his influence to help Saudi businessman ben Mahfouz, a generous donor to charities linked to the British monarchy, to obtain and decoration. Mahfouz Marei Mubarak ben Mahfouz, who denies any wrongdoing, is said to have donated large sums of money to restoration projects. Michael Fawcett resigned in November 2021. An investigation was also launched in November by the English regulator of charities to check if the Mahfouz foundation, of a wealthy Saudi businessman, received a donation intended for Prince Charles.

“The investigation will examine whether some donations received by the Mahfouz foundation were intended for the organization, whether they were used in accordance with the intentions of the donors and whether they should be returned,” the commission explained at the time. .

The Prince Charles Foundation, created in 1986, is not regulated by this commission but depends on the Scottish charity regulator. The latter also opened an investigation but for several hundred thousand euros from a Russian donor this time.

The Bin Laden Group, Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate empire founded by Osama bin Laden’s father in 1931, has grown rich over the decades thanks to its close ties to the royal family. But now he is in debt.

(AFP)