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New Guard Rises in Saudi Arabia as Oil Crisis Forces Rethink

  • Economy minister Adel Fakeih rises as economic revamp planned
  • Officials seen close to Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The slump in oil prices has already pushed Saudi authorities to cut spending, issue more debt and draw down the kingdom’s foreign-currency reserves.
Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg
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After a year of plunging oil prices, all eyes were on Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister for two decades, to deliver a budget that could restore confidence in the kingdom’s finances.

Yet it was Adel Fakeih, economy minister for just eight months, who strode onto a shiny green television set to announce spending cuts and subsidy reductions. Another familiar face missing that day was oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, whose words continue to move global crude markets as they have since 1995. Changes to domestic energy prices were explained by Khalid Al-Falih, chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and health minister.