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Saudis sticking to oil marketing strategy

Despite downturn, Riyadh is confident enough to play the long game

Crisis? What crisis? If Saudi policy makers are spooked by the sharp downturn in global oil prices, they aren’t showing it. The first action the newly crowned King Salman bin Abdulaziz took on succeeding his half-brother Abdullah in January was to spend a cool $30 billion giving subjects a two-months salary bonus. That comes just a month after the Saudi budget forecast a deficit of $39bn for 2015. For most Opec producers, especially those outside the Gulf, such largesse is unimaginable. But with about $750bn in financial reserves, the kingdom is not breaking sweat. This is a far cry from the 1990s, when Saudi Arabia was last hit by low oil prices. Then, after many years of price softness, t

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