U.S. and Saudi Arabia will work out spat, Dimon and Falih say

Salma El Wardany and Zainab Fattah October 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) — Riyadh and Washington will work through the recent tensions in their relationship and remain allies, a senior Saudi official and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s chief executive said at the Future Investment Initiative conference.

Khalid Al-Falih

An escalating dispute over an OPEC+ decision to cut oil production risks causing lasting damage to political relations between the US and Saudi Arabia. Wall Street seems unfazed, with a big turnout for the start of the kingdom’s FII event on Tuesday.

“It’s a blip,” Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih told global executives, investors and Saudi government officials at the conference. 

“In the long term we’re solid allies,” said Falih, a former energy minister and ex-chairman of oil giant Aramco. “We’re close and we’re going to get over this recent spat that I think was unwarranted and it was a misunderstanding hopefully.”

He cited strong ties in the corporate world, in education and in terms of people-to-people relations. 

Falih’s remarks were echoed by JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who also warned against what he referred to as America’s “everything our way” policy.

“I can’t imagine any allies agreeing on everything,” Dimon said earlier at the summit. “They will work it through and I’m comfortable folks on both sides are working through and these countries will remain allies going forward.”

“The American policy doesn’t have to be: ‘Everything our way,’” said Dimon whose firm is expanding in Saudi Arabia.

Dimon and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Solomon are among US finance chiefs attending Riyadh’s glittering investment summit this week, a showcase for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Meanwhile, the White House is escalating a war of words, with Joe Biden threatening “consequences” for the kingdom for its role in slashing crude output despite US objections.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dimon said geopolitical uncertainties were among the biggest concerns facing the global economy right now, far outweighing the risk of recession.

For Dimon, this year’s event will be his first after he and other senior western executives bailed on the conference in 2018 following the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist. Dimon later said pulling out “achieved nothing.”

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