Saudi Arabia warned on Sunday it would respond to any “threats” against it as its stock market crashed the most since 2016 after President Trump’s warning of “severe punishment” over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
On Saturday, Trump said the U.S. could take “very, very powerful, very strong, strong measures” against the country if its leaders are found responsible for the Saudi citizen’s fate. The kingdom, which denies its involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, announced it would retaliate against any punitive measures with an even “stronger” response, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official it didn’t identify.
“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether through economic sanctions, political pressure or repeating false accusations,” the kingdom’s statement said. “The kingdom also affirms that if it is (targeted by) any action, it will respond with greater action.”
Saudi Arabia has traditionally been one of Trump’s closest foreign allies, the US president made a point of visiting the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But both the White House and the kingdom are under mounting pressure as concern grows over the fate of the veteran journalist, who hasn’t been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
The Saudi response came after Saudi Arabian stocks slumped the most since 2016 amid a broad selloff over collapsing relations with the US, with the Tadawul All Share Index, or TASI, plunging by 7% at one point during the week’s first day of trading, the most since December 2014, with all but seven of the gauge’s 186 members fell, led by Saudi Telecom, which declined 6.2%, Jabal Omar lost 6% and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. retreated 1.9%. Selling volume soared, with the number of shares traded more than double the 30-day average.
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