Analysts say nearly twofold fall to hit Gulf's energy exports

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The Gulf's annual energy exports will fall from around $600 billion in 2014 to $350 billion in 2015 if oil prices stay close to their current levels over the rest of this year, analysts of British economic research and consulting company Capital Economics believe.

"As a result, most oil-producing Gulf economies look set to post large budget and current account deficits in 2015," analysts said in a report obtained by Trend.

But this shouldn't cause too many problems, as after all, the Gulf countries are in a much stronger position than other major oil producers to absorb the hit to their income, analysts believe.

"Large foreign exchange reserves and sovereign wealth fund assets mean that twin deficits can be financed for years to come," they said.

Analysts believe that one consequence of this is that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries are likely to resist mounting pressure from smaller OPEC members to cut oil production in order to shore up prices.

Oil prices fell from more than $110 a barrel in June to near $45 a barrel in January. They have since recovered to around $65 a barrel.

Capital Economics' analysts expect oil prices grinding only a little higher, towards $70 per barrel by end of 2017.

OPEC members, excluding Iran, earned about $730 billion in net oil export revenues in 2014, which represents an 11-percent decline from the $824 billion earned in 2013, according to the estimates of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The decrease was largely because of the decline in average annual crude oil prices, and to a lesser extent from decreases in the amount of OPEC net oil exports.

Follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

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