Saudi Arabia ushers in a new monarch after the death of King Abdullah, with investors wondering whether more uncertainty might be ahead in an oil market that's seen prices halve in six months. Kirsty Basset reports.
The end of an era at the world's top oil exporter. Tributes are pouring in for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who died early Friday morning after a short illness, IMF chief Christine Lagarde praised his leadership. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "Well I'm very saddened by his death. I have met him several times and he's going to leave a big legacy but it's a big loss as well. He was a great leader, implemented a lot of reforms at home and in a very discreet way he was a strong advocate of women." Abdullah's death comes amid some of the biggest shifts in oil markets in decades. But his brother and successor King Salman is expected to continue the current policy of protecting OPEC's market share - by keeping oil output steady at 30 million barrels a day. IG analyst Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IG ANALYST ALASTAIR MCCAIG SAYING: "It's very much anticipated they will remain as is, and we'll see a continuation of over supply to the markets, certainly for the foreseeable future." But speculation is swirling over the future of oil minister Ali-Al-Naimi - who has in the past expressed a desire to step down. Such a change would raise questions about Saudi energy policy - but McCaig says it's unlikely to be an issue, at least in the short term. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IG ANALYST ALASTAIR MCCAIG SAYING: "The added instability that might create is not necessarily something they would want to see." Crude oil futures jumped following news of King Abdulla's death but later came off their highs.