Saudi Arabia has warned Donald Trump that the incoming US president will risk the health of his country’s economy if he acts on his election promises to block oil imports.
In a sign of the difficulties Mr Trump faces over his campaign pledges to create “complete American energy independence” from “our foes and the oil cartels”, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister pointedly reminded the president-elect that the US “benefits more than anybody else from global free trade”, adding, “energy is the lifeblood of the global economy”.
“At his heart President-elect Trump will see the benefits and I think the oil industry will also be advising him accordingly that blocking trade in any product is not healthy,” Khalid al-Falih, who is also chairman of Aramco, the state-run oil company, told the Financial Times in Marrakesh, where he is leading Saudi Arabia’s delegation in UN climate talks…. [read more]
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Yesterday, for the first time since 2006, Russia failed to be re-elected for a spot on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) –which until July was chaired by none other than Saudi Arabia – after being narrowly beaten by Croatia in a vote. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was successfully re-elected, despite vocal criticism from human rights organizations. The 47 places on the council are distributed on a regional basis, with staggered elections seeing a third of the body re-elected each year. Russia had finished its three-year term, and was running against Hungary and Croatia for the two available seats from Eastern Europe.
The decision was close, and came down to just two votes: with Hungary far ahead, Croatia received the votes of 114 of the 193 member countries, and Russia was selected on 112 ballots.
“It was a very close vote and very good countries competing, Croatia, Hungary. They are fortunate because of their size, they are not exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is very exposed. We’ve been in the UNHRC for several years, and I am sure next time we will stand and get back in,” Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said quoted by RT. Russia is eligible to run next year, against a new set of countries…. [read more]
One month ago, when we last looked at the Fed’s update of Treasuries held in custody, we noted something troubling: the number dropped sharply, declining by over $27.5 billion in one week, the biggest weekly drop since January 2015, pushing the total amount of custodial paper to $2.83 trillion, the lowest since 2012. One month later, we refresh this chart and find that in the latest weekly update, foreign central banks continued their relentless liquidation of US paper held in the Fed’s custody account, which tumbled by another $22.3 billion in the past week, pushing the total amount of custodial paper to $2.805 trillion, another fresh post-2012 low.
Then today, in addition to the Fed’s custody data, we also got the latest monthly Treasury International Capital data, which showed that the troubling trend presented last one month ago, has accelerated. Recall that a month ago, we reported that in the latest 12 months we have observed a not so stealthy, in fact quite massive $343 billion in Treasury selling by foreign central banks in the period July 2015- July 2016, something truly unprecedented in size and scope.
Fast forward to today when in the latest monthly update, that of July, we find that what until a month ago was “merely” a record $343 billion in offshore central bank sales in the LTM period ending July 30, one month later this number has risen to a new all time high $346.4 billion, or well over a third of a trillion in Treasuries sold in the past 12 months….. [read more]
Another article: China Holdings of U.S. Treasuries Drop to Almost Four-Year Low
Congress enacted a law to allow families of victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its implicit role in 911, and seize Saudi assets if they obtain a judgment against the Saudi government. The “president” fiercely fought the legislation and vetoed it. Congress, in a rare show of both unity and spine, overwhelmingly overrode his veto. Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, did not vote, signaling that team Clinton also opposed the legislation.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, released a statement in June saying that the Saudis fund 20 percent of Clinton’s campaign, which is illegal. Put two and two together and Clinton’s terror sponsoring donors can now be sued and their assets seized…. [read more]
“Hillary says that the Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis and others should stop sponsoring terrorism. Yet her foundation has taken at least $75 million from them and others, with one claiming it funds 20 percent or $42 million of her presidential campaign. Add that Huma Abedin, whose family is foundational to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, is Clintons top aide, and her campaign chairman John Podesta works for the Saudis, and there is the appearance of something deceptive, illegal and dangerous to Americans taking place with Ms. Clinton.”
When Congress unanimously passed a bill last Friday known as “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, there was confusion whether Obama would still veto said bill, as he had threatened to previously, even though by sheer numbers Obama’s veto may be overruled, leaving him hanging and appearing to support a Saudi position over that of the US people. Then on Monday we got the answer when White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced that Obama would still veto said bill. “That is still the plan,” Earnest said. “The president does intend to veto this legislation.”
The Saudis, however, are not taking any chances, and are back to engaging in the same verbal warnings they unleashed in April of this year, when they suggested passage of the law would force the kingdom to sell its US-denominated reserves: threats.
As Reuters reports, a senior Saudi policy adviser on Wednesday condemned a U.S. bill that would allow families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the kingdom for damages, “warning it would stoke instability and extremism.” In other words, if Obama fails too stop a law which everyone in Congress voted for, the US would suffer.
“This legislation sets a dangerous precedent in the field of international relations,” Abdullah Al al-Sheikh was quoted as saying by state news agency SPA. Al al-Sheikh is the speaker of the Shura Council, an appointed body that debates new laws and advises the government on policy….. [read more]