In the wake of the petrodollar’s dramatic collapse late last year, we’ve been keen to document the projected effect on global liquidity of net petrodollar exports turning negative for the first time in decades. We also moved to explain how this dynamic relates to the FX reserve liquidation we’re now seeing across EM.
Of course we’ve also endeavored to explain that while grasping the big picture is certainly critical (and even more so now that China’s efforts to support the yuan in the wake of the August 11 deval have thrust FX reserve liquidation into the spotlight), understanding what “lower for longer” means specifically for Riyadh is important as well.
To recap, the necessity of preserving the status quo for everyday Saudis combined with funding two regional proxy wars while simultaneously defending the riyal peg isn’t exactly compatible with intentionally suppressing crude prices in an effort to outlast ZIRP and bankrupt the US shale complex. The difficulty of balancing all of this has created a current account/fiscal account outcome that makes Brazil look quite favorable by comparison and it has also forced the Saudis into the debt markets, suggesting that the kingdom’s debt-to-GDP ratio is set to rise sharply by the end of 2016 (although it would of course still look favorable by comparison in even the worst case scenarios).