LONDON, Dec. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Core Views
The elevation of the king's son as second in line to the throne and his rapid promotion to the top echelons of the Saudi leadership could spark future instability within the royal family. Saudi Arabia's economic growth will slow considerably in 2017 and pick up in 2018. The corporate sector will face a much more challenging macroeconomic environment, amid contractions in public spending, rising energy costs, and tightening liquidity. Saudi Arabia's austerity budget for 2016 heralded a prolonged period of economic disruption and increased political headwinds. While the government's economic programme has the potential to significantly overhaul the Saudi economy, resistance from the elite and popular discontent will present substantial roadblocks to reform. The Saudi-led military operation in Yemen has so far achieved few of its desired objectives.
Political dialogue between the warring factions will continue, but any agreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Shi'a Houthi rebels will be difficult to reach and even more difficult to implement. While we maintain that large-scale protests are unlikely to occur in Saudi Arabia, large youth unemployment coupled with a lack of political liberties mean that tensions will continue to linger. The municipal polls conducted in Saudi Arabia in December 2015 are of mostly symbolic importance, given the councils' limited authority. That said, the election of several women marks a positive evolution in the country's slow and highly managed process of social reform, and we expect women to gain further ground in public life and the private arena over the coming years.
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