Several of the world’s largest oil states are threatened by bankruptcy, if the oil price continues to fall as it has done in recent years.
The world’s largest oil exporter Saudi Arabia is already in danger of going bankrupt over the next five years due to the significantly lower oil prices, writes several international media.
The wealthy kingdom is far from the only oil state, which risks throwing its population into economic Armageddon due to low oil prices and a poorly managed country.
It is believe by economist at investment bank Nordnet Per Hansen and other economosts, who points out that a low oil price, in addition to lower living standards and possible state bankruptcies in the biggest oil countries, will mean less stability in the world – both economically and politically.
– A lower oil price gives a less stable security and financial stability worldwide. The more uncertainty there is in the world, the less the people and businesses invest, and it is bad for global growth, says Per Hansen.
If oil prices drops to half of the current level Brazil will effectively go bankrupt. That is the clear message from economist at investment bank Nordnet Per Hansen.
The reason is mainly that the country already have a negative growth rates of 1.9 percent, while prices rise with inflation at over 9 percent. Concurrently, the benchmark interest rate in the country is at over 14 percent, and it is a cocktail that can not withstand being mixed with a halving of oil prices as Brazil is heavily dependent on, he said.
– The reason inflation is so high is that Brazil has very outdated labor laws. Politicians have not made the reforms that they should have made. If oil prices go down more, it will make the challenges worse, says Per Hansen, who points out that Brazil is probably too big a country to officially be allowed to go bankrupt. In reality, however, it will be what happens if it suddenly stops to pay its bills as a result of low oil prices and the resulting sentient larger budget deficits.
Russia’s population are at risk of a significantly deteriorated living standards, if the oil price drops significantly. Like Saudi Arabia, Russia is also a so-called mono-economy – a country that primarily have one product to sell, namely oil.
Russia’s strength is that it has little foreign debt, and therefore it will take a long time before the country will get into a really economically ‘bad standing’ in relation to other countries.
– However, if the price of oil, for example halve from the current level, the Russian state budget give a huge deficit. Then they will get significantly less money into the treasury of the oil, and they will also have fewer corporate and personal taxes in because both companies and employees will earn less when the oil has fallen in price.
– For Russia to have their budgets stick together in such a situation, they have to buy fewer goods while the goods they sell, have to go down in price. This means that Russians will experience a lower standard of living, says Per Hansen.
The country could be one of the richest in the World, because it holds vast oil reserves. But the reality is another.
– Venezuele is “dead man walking”. They have actually already gone bankrupt. But they defer their financial death sentence, says Per Hansen, pointing out that the country simply press more and more money when there are problems, and when they need to pay bills.
– They do not care whether inflation is 50 or 90 percent, they just press some more money, says Per Hansen.
He points out that the situation would get worse in the country, if oil prices fall further.
– They already live in self-imposed poverty. If oil prices fall, it becomes even worse, but it is already bad, says Nordnet economist.
Iraq produces far from all the oil they have the potential for, and if oil prices fall, it will be even worse for the troubled country.
If oil prices, for example, is halved, Iraqis can hardly afford to attract the major oil companies.
– If the major oil companies such as BP, Shell and Statoil say they want $ 20 a barrel oil to come to Iraq, there will be nothing to Iraqis even if the price is $ 20. Such a situation will make the Iraqi oil even less exploited than it is today.
Like Iraq, Iran also has the potential to produce far more oil than the country does today. The country continues to suffer from an embargo because, as Iran have been working on a nuclear program.
Nigeria produces between two and three percent of global oil. If oil falls by half, it will have enormous economic and political consequences for the country.
– Nigeria has already enormous challenges, and they will just get bigger if the oil price falls, says Per Hansen.
Norway is different than the above countries. Yet, especially the economy of Norway will be tremendously affected if the oil price will be halved.
– An oil price, at for example $ 20 will come as an economic downturn for Norway. So the money from the Norwegian oil fund come into play to cover the deficit in the state budget of 20, 40 or perhaps $ 60 billion, says Per Hansen.
The Norwegian oil fund contains the equivalent of more than 1 million kroner for every Norwegian. – Norway will survive. They have money in the floor with the other countries do not have reserves, says Per Hansen.
Thousands of works have lost their jobs because of the falling oil prices, in the North sea alone, more than 5.000 have lost their jobs, and another 5 to 10.000 is estimated to loos their jobs due to falling oil prices.