Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dutch Disease?

Are we gonna see another "Dutch Disease" (the boom and bust of oil-led business cycle) happening soon in the Gulf?

source: Brad Setser's blog

Consider the following graph, which shows the Middle East's oil export revenues over time.* For the calculations, I assumed oil will average $120 a barrel in 2008. That is on the high side – as oil would have to average more than $120 a barrel over the remainder of the year to bring the annual average up to $120. On the other hand, oil keeps on rising …

* I calculated oil export revenues by multiplying the oil price (using the IMF's data) by a country's net oil exports (using the BP data set)

Looking at nominal dollars though can be a bit deceptive. Relative to world GDP, the Middle East's surplus is actually a bit smaller this time around.

Real oil prices are back where they were in 79-80. But the world has become a bit less oil-intensive over time. A barrel of oil produces more output now than in the early 80s – or, alternatively, it takes a bit less oil to generate a dollar of output.