International Politics ///

Record oil prices = Good times? Think again. Despite record oil prices, real economic growth rates in the oil producing countries of the Middle East are still hovering around 5% to 6%, with the fear that any decline in oil prices may lead to recession. Real per capita income has improved, but it is still less than the 1970s levels by about 75% in large oil producing countries. Iran is under threat of war, and the fate of international oil companies’ buyback contracts is still unknown. The Iraqi oil industry remains in shambles. Syria and Dubai are expected to become net oil importers very soon. Oil production and revenues in Yemen and Oman have declined rapidly. Some people still question the reliability of Kuwaiti and Saudi reserve figures. Inflation rates are increasing, despite conservative monetary policies that aim to keep inflation around zero. Higher liquidity is driving inflation northward.

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