Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What they're doing with the money

On 17 August I asked how oil exporters would spend the windfalls from high oil prices. Two recent articles seem to shed a bit of light on the issues.

Recycling the petro dollars, a fascinating piece in The Economist (Nov 10), reports that "most of the extra money is being saved, not spent".

And from Russia, the second biggest exporter after Saudi, Andrew Kramer reports for the New York Times that there is considerable caution about the use of the money (Awash in Petrodollars, Russia Frets About the Paradoxes of Bounty), with the government continuing to commit to the Stabilization Fund and large foreign debt payments.

Social spending is reported to be more limited: $4bn for "doctors' salaries and other social spending" in 2007 is the only figure stated in the article.

In view of the daunting scale and depth of Russia's social, health and educational challenges this seems like very little.

(Oil exporters will receive earn around $700bn this year)

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