We have seen a lot of crazy things in the last few weeks… like a worldwide quarantine, a complete shutdown of the worlds economy, and the fastest stock market plunge in history. And despite how shocking those things have been, there is one part of this crisis that hasn’t really been talked about by anyone…yet would likely be the number one story in the world during any other time in history…
The United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Iran, China, and Canada. What do these countries have in common? Well, not much actually. Except that these countries are the worlds largest oil producers. And as you may know, Oil has historically been a hot commodity that can single handedly determine if a country or state is going to be rich or poor.
Lets take norway for example. Norway has the 6 highest GDP per capita in the world, it is the 2nd wealthiest country in terms of monetary value, it consistently ranks in the top 3 in the world in regards to standard of living, and has the second largest capital reserve in the world as well. So it is quick easy to say that Norway is very rich. But it wasn’t always like this. In the 1950s, Norway was largely a fishing and agricultural nation, and wasn’t anywhere near as wealthy as it is today. But then in the late 1960’s Norway struck oil in the North Sea. They ended up discovering one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and soon began extracting it through a state run company called statoil. The companies purpose was to sell the oil to other countries, and then use those profits to invest back into Norway, its citizens, and a state wealth fund. And over the course of the next several decades after the oil discovery, norway would surpass the likes Canada, Germany, and even the United States in terms of average wealth of its citizens. And this example of how oil can rapidly increase the wealth of a country, can be applied to virtually every other country that discovers vast quantities of oil within their borders. However, there is a difference between how countries handle their new found oil winnings. Norway is the best example of how oil can provide both short term and long term wealth for its citizens.
But there are some examples of countries mismanaging their new found oil.
Lets take for example, Venezuala who has the largest proven oil reserve in the world. They were a fairly well-off developing nation in the 2000’s, but they built their economy entirely on oil, without a reserve fund or diversification plan like norway. So when the price of oil dropped by 68% over the course of 72 weeks between 2014 and 2016, that sent Venezuala’s economy into a downward spiral.
And I want you to remember those numbers I just mentioned. A 68% drop over 72 weeks. Now lets bring that back to today. You see, about 3 months ago, I was at the gas station and my fill up was around $80, or about $1.32/litre. But then about a week ago, I went to that very same gas station and the cost to fill up was around $48, or about $0.75/litre.
And that is when I knew that something nearly unprecedented had happened to the worlds economy. You see, over the course of the last 12 weeks, the price of has dropped by 68%. That is the same price drop that caused Venezuala’s economy to enter a crisis. But the only difference is that this drop took 12 weeks, meanwhile the previous drop was over 72 weeks. This means that we are going through arguably the sharpest decline of an energy commodity in history. Yet, because of the current news cycle, its not being brought up with the frequency that it should be. So, how did this drop happen? Well it was a two pronged attack. The first of which was the demand for oil began to dry up when the worldwide lockdowns started happening. Think about this. roughly 2 thirds of all oil that is extracted from the ground goes into transportation vehicles such as cars, boats, trucks and planes. But now, there has been over a 90 percent reduction in overall travel since the outbreak, Meaning that people aren’t filling up their cars at the gas station as much, and the same applies to boats, trucks, and planes. And as we all know from basic economics, as soon as the demand for a product drops off a cliff. Transcript too long. Ending here….