Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Arab states face deficits if oil price declines to reasonable levels

Supporting them in the style to which they are accustomed means getting oil back up to the inflationary and unrealistic levels that helped cause the world financial crisis.
GCC states face abrupt decline in surpluses
Reuters - 19 November, 2008

Gulf Arab countries could witness an abrupt decline in external surpluses next year if oil prices average $ 50 a barrel, with the emirate of Dubai being most vulnerable to a downturn, Citigroup said yesterday.

With oil at $ 50, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar would all post external trade deficits in 2009, Citigroup said in a research note.

"In effect, this means the members of the GCC will have to dig into their overseas wealth to keep their economies moving," the bank said.

Oil stood near $ 56 a barrel yesterday, down more than 50 percent since hitting a record above $ 147 in July.

Citigroup said Saudi Arabia's deficit could hit 28 percent of the gross domestic product, compared with a surplus of 30 percent this year, when oil prices should average $ 99 a barrel.

Kuwait would be the only member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to post an external surplus, it said.

Dubai, the commercial and retail hub of the Gulf region, would be "most vulnerable" to a downturn, Citigroup added.

"Two specific concerns are Dubai's real estate sector and how it will refinance the debt it has built up in recent years," the bank said, adding
it expected a correction in Dubai real estate prices and consolidation of its companies.

A Gulf plan to launch a single currency "are even less likely now than they were six months ago," Citigroup added.

No comments: