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Gas price hike, subsidy cuts shake up Saudis

The Saudi government's new year is off to a shaky start financially — a burden it's sharing with its citizens, leaving them to wonder just how bad things will get.

Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and, at age 30, the youngest defense minister in the world, holds many sensitive responsibilities. He sets prices for gasoline and services in the kingdom, handles terrorism issues and tackles the influence of Iran and its regional allies. Some Saudis have high hopes about Salman, while others are concerned because they feel they are being forced to pay the bills of past failures and ambitious future projects.

The Saudi stock market posted heavy losses two hours before the market closed Jan. 17, as oil prices plummeted below $30 a barrel. This coincided with the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran.

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