Saudi Arabia is increasingly looking east for major investment opportunities, thanks in part to a cooling of relations with the West over the past 18 months. Crown Prince Muhammad’s Asian tour resulted in Saudi Arabia pledging to invest more than $150bn in projects in Pakistan, India and China, all of which are important trade partners. China and India are the two fastest growing oil consumers globally, while Pakistan’s planned refining expansion also means greater demand.

A key refining MoU was signed with Pakistan, but apart from that the tour’s deals mainly consisted of vague commitments and a rehashing of existing projects. This is reminiscent of recent investment drives within the kingdom such as last month’s launch of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program and October’s Future Investment Initiative (MEES, 1 February). As with President Trump in the US, Crown Prince Muhammad knows that big investment announcements make big headlines, irrespective of their veracity. (CONTINUED - 1068 WORDS)