Could Saudi ‘ease of doing business’ rank jolt investors back to reality?
Indosuez Wealth Management Global Chief Economist Marie Owens Thomsen weighs in on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s lightning reform program for Saudi Arabia and his visit to the U.K. She speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Middle East.”
Is the crown prince aiming at bringing in foreign as well as political capital?
“The World Bank ease of doing business index, that brings together various variables of that in different countries, really underlines that necessity for reform in Saudi Arabia,” said Thomsen.
“The kingdom ranks 92nd in the 2018 ranking, compared to the UAE who ranks 21st, showing that with massive, serious, and consistent reforms, a country can improve as the UAE has, 50 places or more in the space of 10 years.”
She opined that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s overseas visits amounts to a last reconnaissance trip to find out whether Saudi Aramco should do the IPO in London, New York or Hong Kong.
Has Saudi struck the right balance between reform an stimulus?
“Overall, the Middle East has been hit by the drop in oil prices starting 2014, forcing everyone to be innovative with policies on the austerity side, and now with higher oil prices, these are better conditions to pursue reforms,” said Thomson.