Soaring Oil Prices May Tip World Back Into Recession

At least according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency. As the Financial Times reports, according to the IEA current price levels are on average higher than in the record year of 2008. The IEA estimates that the EU will this year spend a record $502bn on net imports of oil, up from $472bn in 2011. This is 2.8% of the EU’s GDP, whereas in the last decade it was spending on average 1.7% of GDP on oil imports.

Households will spend close to 11% of income on heating, lighting, cooking and personal transport this year, whereas the historical average has been 6-7% and last year it was 9%.

US imports are projected to rise from $380bn to $426bn, China’s from $215bn to $251bn, and Japan’s from $178bn to $198bn.

Meanwhile, OPEC’s oil revenues will soar to $1.2tn.

Birol noted that every recession in the industrialised countries since the second world war had been preceded by an oil price spike.

Sustainable transport, anyone?

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