Saudi Arabia Faces another “Very Scary Moment” As Economy, FX Regime Face Crude Reality – FAROUK SOUSSA (DEREE ’94)

Farouk Soussa (DEREE ’94) is Citi’s chief economist for the Middle East, and has been mostly based in the UK since leaving DEREE Greece in 1994. He joined Citi from Standard & Poor’s where he was the head of government ratings for the Middle East and Africa (2004-2010). Farouk began his career at the Bank of England in 1998, working in various divisions within the financial stability wing of the bank, ultimately as a senior economist within the international finance division. While at the Bank, he spent time as a financial regulator with the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and did a six-month post-doctoral Jean Monnet fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence.

Farouk is Egyptian/Greek and holds a PhD in Economics and a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Birmingham, UK, and a BA in Economics from DEREE (1995).

In a recent article published in the website, Farouk commented about the oil prices going down by more than half over the past 12 months to below $50, forcing Saudi Arabia to face many of the same financial problems it did in 1998.

Farouk said that:  “The Saudi government can’t continue to be the employer of first resort, it can’t continue to drive economic growth through the big infrastructure projects and it can’t keep lavishing on subsidies and social spending.”

He believes that some of the most important skills one needs to make it in one’s work are analytical and interpersonal/communication.

“You don’t need a PhD in Economics to be an economist; you just have to be able to analyze information using common sense.” He added that “you also have to be able to communicate that information to clients, understand what they are interested in and deliver it in a simple message.”

He also commented on the hardship that Greeks are facing trying to get a job today and said: “I cannot presume to understand how awful it is trying to get a job in Greece today. The reality is that the pie is shrinking, and this means that wages and jobs are under pressure, so there is little one can do to beat the tide. Sadly, yes, abroad is a compelling option. Dubai is a great place to live and work, with a thriving Greek community, and so is London. I hear Greek more and more in the streets these days.”

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