Canadian dollar whipsaws as row with Saudi Arabia escalates

08 August, 2018, 22:11 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Pari Johnston of Universities Canada says international students contribute $15 billion to the Canadian economy

The Saudi Arabian regime triggered a sell off of Canadian assets on Tuesday morning, amid an escalating row between the two nations over human rights.

Samar Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week, the latest targets of what Human Rights Watch called an "unprecedented government crackdown" on women activists.

Still, Rai said the impact on the currency should be "ephemeral" as bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Canada is small.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Canada plans to seek help from United Arab Emirates and Britain to defuse the row, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the USA, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia totalled about $1.12 billion in 2017 or 0.2% of the total value of Canadian exports.

Saudi media took a decidedly dark turn on Monday when it appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack by tweeting a harshly worded infographic with an image of an airliner flying towards Toronto's skyline.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry called the statement "a major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom's laws and judicial process".

Since rising to power in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has courted Western allies by offering to buy billions of dollars worth of arms.

The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that erupted over the weekend has left many wondering what exactly is going on. Meanwhile, the Saudi Health Attaché in the USA and Canada, Dr. Fahd Al-Tamimi, said the Kingdom has stopped all treatment programs in Canada and is transferring all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to other hospitals outside Canada.

The kingdom has suspended educational exchanges with Canada and moved Saudi scholars to other countries.

Travel to the country will also be affected in light of an announcement from Saudia Airlines on Tuesday that it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference in Montreal, where he will be pressed on the diplomatic crisis. Saudi Arabia has invested about $6 billion in Canadian businesses since 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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