(November 2012) The economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa region is mixed. Most of the region’s oil-exporting countries are growing at healthy rates while the oil importers face subdued economic prospects.
(November 2012) The US will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020 due to a boom in shale oil. How will that impact global energy supplies and geopolitics? Liam Denning of The Wall Street Journal reports on the Markets Hub.
World Economic Forum 2012: Switzerland again tops world competitiveness rankings; Ireland rises to 27th rank from 29
(September 2012) World Economic Forum 2012: Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released today by the World Economic Forum. Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies. Ireland moved up to 27th rank from 29. In the Middle East, Qatar has an leads the region with an 11th rank while Saudi Arabia remains among the top 20 at 18th.
(June 2012) Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia with the world's largest proven oil reserves but the desert kingdom remains the pivotal player in the oil business. Meanwhile, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil, which is the US benchmark, has tumbled to about $84 a barrel, down 20% since April. Oil prices have dropped from a $128 peak for Brent in March and from $110 for US crude, and in April Saudi output hit a 30-year high of 10.1m bpd (barrels per day). Canadian producers are getting far less for their crude than the WTI level as Western Canada Select, which is a heavy sour crude oil, has slumped about 30% and now trades below $60 a barrel. Canada has the world's third highest reserves.
(May 2012) A global survey of CEOs and senior executives shows that demand for Sharia orientated products and services is strong, and expected to grow. Among the reasons: expanding Muslim populations, rising purchasing power, shifting consumption patterns, and a broader range of products and services on offer. The range of Sharia-orientated products and services is broadening, from food and Islamic finance products to pharmaceuticals, fashion and tourism, among others.
International Energy Agency says high oil prices risk another world recession; Others are more sanguine
(March 2012) The International Energy Agency, the Paris-based energy watchdog for 28 industrialised countries including Ireland, has warned via its chief economist Fatih Birol, that the cost of oil imports for leading economies will surge to $1.5tn this year if crude oil prices stay at their current levels - - a level that could tip the world back into recession. However, other economists argue that while high oil prices will be a drag on global growth, they are unlikely to derail the global expansion.
(March 2012) President Obama on Wednesday took his campaign to convince Americans that he's not blasé about the price of a gallon of gasoline heading for $4, to an oil field on federal lands in New Mexico and greeted his hosts on arriving at a Roswell airfield: “I come in peace” - - in a reference to the reported 1947 landing in Roswell of extra-terrestrials in a flying saucer. Also on Wednesday, France confirmed that possible releases from strategic reserves are being discussed and on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali Naimi, said that that high oil prices were “unjustified” and vowed that the kingdom would boost its output by as much as 25% if necessary.
(January 2012) North America is forecast to become almost totally self-sufficient in energy by 2030, due to the dramatic changes in energy production in recent years - - in the biofuels, shale gas and unconventional oil sectors. Canada is already the biggest supplier of crude oil to the United States and the cherished goal of energy independence is in sight for Americans. North America’s energy deficit is forecast to turn into a “small surplus” in two decades while Europe, will have to import some 60% of its natural gas by 2030 as demand expands and domestic production wanes.
(December 2011) Prince Alwaleed bin Talal confirmed on Monday that he has made a $300m investment in Twitter, the microblogging site, expanding his media empire into social-media sites and giving the Saudi billionaire a stake in an online outlet that was widely used by activists in this year's Arab uprisings. San Francisco-based Twitter, whose investors include several venture-capital firms, was valued by analysts in October at about $8.4bn, suggesting that Prince Alwaleed's stake is equivalent to 3.6% of the company. Meanwhile, Angry Birds, the hit mobile phone game from Finland, has powered the revenues of its developer Rovio towards $100m this year.
(December 2011) The Irish domestic economy is back to the size it was in 2002, representing a 26% decline since peak in 2007...Foreign aid is set to decline, with the US Agency for International Development’s budget cut by 17%, according to the Republicans’ summary of spending cuts. Americans overwhelmingly say they believe that foreign aid makes up a larger portion of the federal budget than defense spending, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, or spending on roads and other infrastructure. In a November 2010 World Public Opinion poll, the average American believed that a whopping 25% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent also thought that the appropriate level of foreign aid would be about 10% of the budget - - 10 times the current level.