A three digit world
World Economic Forum meetings are, as one former Prime Minister put it over a nightcap, part private high-level talks, part networking and a lot of theatre. “Theatre
There was plenty to digest and discuss, but as usual the many of the more memorable thoughts came in the networking lounge over an espresso. I spoke to the CEO of a Gulf investment authority who, during our conversation said they really want to get it right this time, since they are blessed with the “three digits.”
The conversation continues, as I try to bluff my way through what “three digits” means. After another minute my curiosity gets the better of me and I confess my ignorance. “Three digits,” he tells me with a broad smile, “
There is no doubt about that and I confirm that after 20 years of covering OPEC meetings and visiting production facilities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arabian Gulf, I know it cost about $4 to $6 per barrel for the major Middle Eastern producers to get their crude to market. To put it crudely, that is a profit of about $120 a barrel at today’s prices.
Spend it wisely
While the Gulf producers are happy to watch the savings roll in, they are very aware that the world is watching to see how they plan to use it. It was, no doubt, the number one issue on the agenda at this regional meeting. Somewhat boldly some members of the Arab community, which are not blessed with the same huge natural resources, spoke up in Sharm el Sheikh.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the tall, silver haired reformist, noted that one cannot force money where it does not want to go, but, “I believe that real opportunities exist today in the region, whether it’s in infrastructure, whether it’s in capacity building, education and other aspects of it.”
A former government official from
If that is not an incentive to use the “three digits” wisely, I am not sure what is.
ABOUT THIS BLOGJohn Defterios’ blog accompanies the weekly business program, Marketplace Middle East (MME) that is dedicated to the latest financial news from the Middle East. As MME anchor, John Defterios talks to the people in the know, finding out their opinions on the big business moves in the region, he provides his views via this weekly blog. We hope you will join the discussion around the issues raised.
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