Even before the new Gaza war shattered comfortable assumptions about regional security, the global economic climate had been hostile, as shown in analysis of the International Monetary Fund's new reports on the global outlook and regional economic performance.
Governments across the region are trying to ensure the war between Hamas and Israel doesn’t escalate, with potentially disastrous expansion to other fronts. Meanwhile the monarchies and others are trying to assuage the anger many of their citizens feel towards Israel’s actions in Gaza, in a conflict that has profoundly upset recent comfortable assumptions about the regional status quo.
China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has used a routine rotation of its ships based in Djibouti to double its presence in the region, just as the United States Navy is preparing to deploy its first aircraft carrier strike group (CSG) to the region for two years.
Saudi state Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed a joint venture with South Korea's Hyundai Motor Company to set up a $500m vehicle manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. PIF will hold 70% of the venture, with Hyundai taking the other 30%.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering buying up to 54 Rafale jets from France's Dassault Aviation. Dassault has built up a sizeable customer base for its jets in the Gulf: Qatar has taken delivery of 36 Rafales, and the UAE has ordered up to 80 of the fighter bombers.
The Palestinian issue has been steadily sidelined in the minds of most leaders in recent years, but that all changed with Hamas' brutal attack on Israel on 7 October and the devastating bombardment of Gaza that has followed. With the death toll quickly running into the thousands and claims of war crimes being levelled against both sides, Gulf governments are scrambling to deal with the fallout.
The turmoil that has broken out in Israel and Gaza in recent days may lead to a recalibration by Yemen's Houthis of what they should put on their list of demands and how much pressure they can exert on Saudi Arabia in any further rounds of talks. It might also concentrate minds in Riyadh about the need to secure a viable settlement in Yemen, so that the land beyond its southern border is not a long-term harbour of potential danger.
Saudi Arabia announced that it would bid to host the 2034 Fifa World Cup, soon after football’s world governing body had set out the timetable for the process. It faces a rival bid from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Official statements from the Gulf monarchies have called for de-escalation and international mediation between Hamas and Israel, but there have been notable differences in where blame has been apportioned.
Two Saudi state-owned bodies, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), launched a new electric vehicle (EV) charging company on 8 October, in which ownership is split 75/25 in the PIF’s favour.
Saudi Arabia's government has said its budget will slip into deficit this year, amid a fall in economic activity which is largely due to the voluntary limits the country has placed on its oil production. The budget deficits are expected to continue for the three following years.
Saudi Arabia is planning to hold a naval exercise with its counterparts in the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. Exercise Blue Sword is scheduled to take place during October in Zhanjiang, where China’s South Sea Fleet is headquartered.
A Saudi royal order was issued to create the Imam Faisal Bin Turki Royal Reserve – the eight such reserve established in the country to date. The protected area covers territory in the provinces of Asir, Jazan and Mecca and extends into Saudi territorial waters in the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud returned to Riyadh, after over a month in the northwest city of Neom. In that time, he chaired several weekly cabinet meetings.
Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would extend its 1m b/d production cut until the end of the year – backed by Opec+ partner Russia’s commitment to extend its 300,000 b/d export cut – moved the price of marker Brent crude back above $90/bbl for the first time since November 2022.
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