Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, January 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 38° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation

Saudis reject threats as stocks plunge after Trump comments

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 14, 2018

In this Jan. 29, 2011 photo, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Virginia Mayo / Associated Press)
In this Jan. 29, 2011 photo, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Virginia Mayo / Associated Press)
By Jon Gambrell Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia on Sunday threatened to retaliate for any sanctions imposed against it after President Donald Trump said the oil-rich kingdom deserves “severe punishment” if it is responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

The warning from the world’s top oil exporter came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7 percent at one point.

The statement was issued as international concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago. American lawmakers threatened tough punitive action against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain jointly called for a “credible investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom has called such allegations “baseless” but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

Already, international business leaders are pulling out of the kingdom’s upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as “Davos in the Desert,” and the sell-off on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange showed that investors are uneasy.

The exchange dropped by over 500 points, then clawed back some of the losses, ending the day down 264 points, or more than 4 percent. Of 188 stocks traded on the exchange, 179 ended the day with a loss.

“Something this big would definitely spook investors, and Saudi just opened up for foreign direct investment, so that was big,” said Issam Kassabieh, a financial analyst at Dubai-based firm Menacorp Finance. “Investors do not feel solid in Saudi yet, so it’s easy for them to take back their funds.”

In an interview scheduled to air Sunday, Trump told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Saudi Arabia would face strong consequences if involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“There’s something really terrible and disgusting about that, if that was the case, so we’re going to have to see,” Trump said. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment.”

But the president has also said “we would be punishing ourselves” by canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The sales are a “tremendous order for our companies,” and if the Saudis don’t buy their weaponry from the U.S., they will get it from others, he said.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com