The King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has died at 90. Ranked the 11th most powerful people by Forbes in 2014 with a personal wealth estimated at $18 billion, Abdullah succeeded King Fahd in 2005 after 10 years as the kingdom’s de facto ruler due to King Fahd serious medical condition after suffering a stroke in 1995. Defense minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had been named crown prince and ascended the throne immediately.
Hardly the death of King Abdullah had been known that oil prices jumped two per cent up to $47 for the WTI. However the move could be short-lived since many analysts have said the succession at the top of the Saudi kingdom is likely to have been largely anticipated by financial markets since King Abdullah’s medical condition has worsened for 3 weeks. Furthermore, Salman has publicly endorsed the current Saudi Arabia’s oil stance of pushing oil prices down.
Actually the real uncertainty in the medium term could rather be about who will be next given that Salman is already 79 years old. The next in line, former chief of the Saudi Intelligence Agency (SIA) from 2005 to 2012, Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is 10 years younger. Yet one cannot be completely sure how a post-Salman succession would play out: there will be a generation change which will raise questions analysts aren’t able to answer now.