5 Oil Stocks To Buy As Saudi Tensions Boost Prices Over $57

On Monday, political turmoil in Saudi Arabia boosted oil prices to their highest level in two and a half years. The country’s 32-year old crown price, Mohammed Bin Salman, ordered the arrest of much of the country’s top leadership. Such a move was apparently necessary to tackle corruption even as the young prince attempts to modernize the Saudi economy.

As a result, oil prices gained, with Brent crude increasing 3.4% to $64.27 a barrel and WTI crude rising 3% to $57.35 per barrel. Further, the oil rally led the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to advance 2.3%, becoming the biggest gainer among the key S&P 500 sectors.

Though skeptics are already depicting the spike as a temporary one, several factors may combine to boost oil prices for a longer period. Adding stocks from the oil sector to your portfolios looks like a smart move at this point.

Purge to Tackle Corruption or Advance Consolidation?

Since his elevation, the crown prince has been touting his Vision 2030 plan as the best way to channelize the Saudi kingdom’s oil based clout into broad based economic growth. His plans include economic diversification and selling off a near 5% stake in state-owned oil behemoth Aramco. These moves are aimed at making the country more investor friendly by boosting levels of transparency.

Yet there are major hurdles to be cleared before such a listing becomes possible. Allegations abound that a large chunk of the expenses of Saudi Arabia’s royalty show up on Aramco’s books. Meanwhile, Saturday’s purge has been ostensibly aimed at rooting out corruption at the very top.

However, top Middle East analysts believe that this could only be a move to consolidate the young prince’s power. In the process, opposition to his plans could be swiftly removed. But at the same time, the Aramco stake sale may be threatened since investors would be weary of excessive political uncertainty. In this event, a private placement with investors from Russia and China seems more likely.

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