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Saudi Arabia Breaks 45-Year Taboo With Veiled Threat to Use Oil as a Weapon

  • Riyadh vows to retaliate to any measures using economic clout
  • Market is skeptical Saudis would actually use oil as weapon
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Political tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia may have the potential of spilling over into global oil markets.Source: Bloomberg
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For 45 years, it’s been considered out of bounds for Saudi Arabia. But all of a sudden, Riyadh made what many read as a veiled threat to use the kingdom’s oil wealth as a political weapon -- something unheard of since the 1973 Arab embargo that triggered the first oil crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said on Sunday it would retaliate against any punitive measures linked to the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi with even “stronger ones." In an implicit reference to the kingdom’s petroleum wealth, the statement noted the Saudi economy “has an influential and vital role in the global economy.”