A man speaks on the phone as he walks past the Kingdom Centre Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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A purge of Saudi Arabia's political and business elites briefly dragged down the kingdom's stock market Sunday but prices recovered to close higher as some investors bet the crackdown could bolster reforms in the long run. The size of the purge – 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers were detained by a newly created anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman – raised questions about the stability and predictability of the Saudi government.Many bankers and analysts saw the purge, which replaced the head of the National Guard, as a power grab by Prince Mohammad, designed to remove any remaining obstacles to his authority and assure his eventual succession to the throne.This, they said, could help the economy by making it easier for Prince Mohammad to pursue radical reforms that include slashing the state budget deficit, putting more women into employment, lifting a ban on women driving, and selling $300 billion of state assets.
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