The Saudi Finance Ministry on 30 September took the unusual step of openly criticizing ratings agency Fitch for downgrading Saudi Arabia’s sovereign credit rating by one notch to ‘A’ earlier the same day. The Fitch downgrade came in light of the 14 September attacks which took out more than half of the country’s oil output. Though Saudi Arabia claims to have more or less restored production (MEES, 4 October), the attacks laid bare the vulnerability of the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry as well as its adversaries’ (presumably Iran’s) willingness to carry out such an attack.

The ministry says it is “disappointed” with Fitch’s “swift decision to downgrade the kingdom.” “The downgrade of the rating comes across as somewhat speculative without direct reference to the swift, decisive and effective response to the event,” the ministry says. (CONTINUED - 757 WORDS)