Saudi Arabia Current Affairs - 2019
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As per a royal decree, Saudi Arabia will switch its weekend to Friday-Saturday to better serve its economy and “international commitments”.
This move will make Saudi Arabia the last of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)– which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates – to abandon the Thursday-Friday weekend to be closer to the world’s Saturday-Sunday weekend. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and a member of the G20 group of the globe’s biggest economies.
Why this change?
Initially, when the weekends in GCC were Thursday-Friday whereas rest of the world has it on Saturday- Sunday, it provided the stock market only three working days which coincided with the working week in the world’s major financial centres. This made negative repercussion and caused opportunity loss for countries involved in trade. The decision takes effect in ministries and government departments from next week, while it will be implemented by schools and universities from the start of the next academic year.
Iraq has shown keenness to enhance economic relations with India. India is also looking for a strategic partnership with the gulf nation. Iran has not expressed its interest towards the Indian refiners to enhance their crude oil import engagement with Baghdad, but also explore the possibility of acquiring oil and gas assets by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited and Oil India Limited.
As India has already reduced its oil exports from Iran due sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union, it is also looking for a supplier to compensate for the shortfall.
Noticeably, Iraq has already emerged as the second leading crude oil exporter to India, moving ahead of Iran. India is importing around $20 billion worth of crude oil from Iraq and this is bound to go up in the coming months. Saudi Arabia, however, still remains the largest exporter of crude oil to India. India imported 171.41 million tonnes of crude oil in 2011-12. Of this, 32.63 million tonnes came from Saudi Arabia, 24.51 million tonnes from Iraq, 17.67 million tonnes from Kuwait, and 15.79 million tonnes from the U.A.E. India imported 2,71,200 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran between April and February 2012-13, which was below the government’s target of 3,10,000 bpd for the fiscal year which ended on March 31, 2013.