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FT: Saudi Arabia sells off Canadian assets as dispute escalates

FT: Saudi Arabia sells off Canadian assets as dispute escalates

Responding to a question about the reason for the arrest of the activists, Jubeir repeated earlier allegations that they had been in touch with foreign entities.

The Canadian dollar slid Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia had begun selling off its holdings of the country's bonds, stocks, and cash.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a two-week low against its USA counterpart on Wednesday as oil prices fell and after the FT report.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't backing down and won't apologize to Riyadh as the diplomatic crisis between Canada and Saudi Arabia continues to escalate, saying this government will never shirk from raising human-rights concerns in other countries. Annual Saudi-Canadian trade hovers around $4bn. It is the successor company to the Canadian Wheat Board, which the previous federal Conservative government had privatized.

"We have always said that the politicisation of human rights matters is unacceptable", Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia's foreign ministry, told reporters on Wednesday.

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.




"From about 10:30 this morning a big sell program came in internationally at one of the dealers, " said Dominique Barker, Portfolio Manager, CIBC Asset Management.

In response, some Twitter users hit back by pointing out Saudi Arabia's repression of its own Shia Muslim population.

It has lashed out at Canada, sometimes harshly, since Ottawa called for the release of jailed women's rights activists in the Kingdom. Riyadh added it's working to transfer existing Saudi patients out of the country.

It remains unclear how many Saudi patients will be affected by the decision. The government provides health care services through several government agencies for public employees.

Samar Badawi and Sadah were arrested last week in what global human rights groups called a crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia. The country's state airline announced it is suspending operations to Canada, and the Saudis government is withdrawing more than 15,000 Saudi students from Canadian schools. Saudia Airlines has also announced it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

The dispute looks set to damage what is a modest bilateral trade relationship worth almost $4 billion a year.

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