Category Archives: Middle East

IMF Loans Egypt $12 Billion

(Originally published on November 20, 2016, as part of LSE’s Political Risk and Investment Society Spotlight Blog)

Background

After taking power in 2013, Sisi promised to revitalize Egypt’s economy. Yet economic vitality has been lackluster: though GDP growth has increased from 2% to 4% since 2011, unemployment has also risen from 9% to 12.5%. Continue reading

Saudi Economic Reforms

(Originally published on January 31, 2017, as part of LSE’s Political Risk and Investment Society Spotlight Blog)

Background

Following two years of rapidly declining oil prices, Saudi Arabia has realized that it needs massive reform for its economy to stay relevant and its country stable in the coming years. Low prices, sparked in part by OPEC’s (read: Saudi Arabia’s) decision to allow market forces to determine the price of oil, created a hole in the Saudi budget, forcing it to draw on $100 billion of reserves and borrow another $17.5 billion in bonds. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Middle East

(Originally published in January 2017, as part of LSE’s Political Risk and Investment Society Spotlight Blog)

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two most pivotal powers in the Middle East; they are the bridge between regional and global politics. Both states have used and contributed to regional strife in an attempt to build its own power and weaken the other’s. At the end of 2016, Iran has the clear upper hand. It will be moved to press its advantage while the Saudis look desperately for their own win. This will lead to both states increasing rhetorical and proxy volatility, but will be unlikely to lead to direct confrontation. Continue reading

New OPEC Deal Won’t Amount to Much

(Originally published on December 7, 2016, as part of LSE’s Political Risk and Investment Society’s Spotlight Blog)

Background

After two years of market-led oil production, OPEC, in conjunction with some non-OPEC states, has agreed to cut production to raise prices. The two years of market-led output resulted from the organization’s inability to reach an agreement as well as Saudi Arabia’s desire to force the US shale industry into insolvency. After oil prices tumbled to their lowest levels in a decade this past year, the oil cartel saw renewed urgency to set a cap to raise prices. Continue reading