In anticipation, I re-read parts of last week's update, dated March 15, 2020.
I was particularly interested in two items:
- the recent purge by Prince MBS; and,
- the effect of the coronavirus on the kingdom.
The fall in oil prices follows Riyadh’s temporary suspension of the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, and a ban on entry to the kingdom for pilgrims, to sterilize the religious sites to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
[For] Saudi’s corporate elite, the pilgrimage guarantees a steady flow of income, lucrative construction contracts and the growth of luxury hotel chains around the holy mosque. A 10-day Hajj package trip, from specially licensed agencies with close connections to the ruling family, can cost around $7,000 not including the presents that the pilgrims are expected to buy for their families.This is a huge loss of revenue for the kingdom if the "temporary" halt becomes permanent. I'm not sure how it cannot be permanent. The kingdom could delay the pilgrimage for months, but latent virus, which surely exists, could come roaring back -- and those foreign pilgrims would return to their homes (e.g., EU, UK, and US) potentially sparking a second wave of Wuhan flu.