Saudi Arabia has gone nuclear, threatening the petrodollar. Or has it?
The report from Zerohedge via Reuters that Saudi Arabia is angry with the U.S. for considering a bill exposing OPEC to U.S. antitrust law is a trial balloon.
The chances of the U.S. bill known as NOPEC coming into force are slim and Saudi Arabia would be unlikely to follow through, but the fact Riyadh is considering such a drastic step is a sign of the kingdom’s annoyance about potential U.S. legal challenges to OPEC.
If these things are so unlikely then why make the threat public? There are a number of reasons.
First, one must remember that the Saudis are hemorrhaging money. Their primary budget deficit in 2018 was around 7% of GDP. Since the 2014 crash in oil prices it has gone from almost zero sovereign debt to $180 billion in debt to finance its spending, or around 22% of GDP.
2019’s budget will be even bigger as it tries to deficit spend its way to growth. It’s needs for a higher oil price are built into their primary budget not their production costs, which are some of the lowest in the world.
Second, the Saudis finally opened up the books on Saudi-Aramco this week. And it revealed the giant is far more profitable than thought. It has is eye on acquiring stakes in some of the biggest oil and gas projects out there these past couple of years. It’s floating its first public bond to buy a stake in SABIC to get into the mid and downstream petroleum markets.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…