Saudi Arabian oil production climbed in September according to data from JODI, showing that the world’s biggest oil producer sent 7.11 million barrels of oil per day abroad.
There’s no sign that the country is making any efforts to slow down its production, even as oil prices slide.
A barrel of Brent crude oil is currently hovering around $US44, down from over $US110 18 months ago. That’s part of a deliberate strategy by the main exporters, which are aiming to protect their own market share and damage the previously booming US oil industry’s production.
But there are serious worries that Saudi Arabia’s strategy is storing up problems for the future.
At a Reuters conference on Tuesday, hedge fund founder Stephen Jen voiced concerns about the country’s ability to re-balance to the reality of the new oil price. He said: “for Russia, in the short term the most efficient way (to adjust) was to devalue the rouble. Go to Saudi Arabia, same shock but with a pegged currency, it can’t devalue.”
Participants also said the country might be facing a fiscal crisis in three to five years.
The International Monetary Fund named Saudi Arabia among the countries that have around five years worth of fiscal buffers left should oil prices remain near their current lows.
There are also serious concerns about the country’s internal stability. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets referred to Saudi Arabia’s “Game of Thrones” in a note in late October, drawing attention to the rise of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the discontent that has caused among other members of the royal family.
There’s a limit — both political and economic — to how long Saudi Arabia can keep doing this. Their aim is to clamp down on non-OPEC producers, and the longer they do that for, the closer towards danger they’re straying.
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