Middle East Oil Producers Pre-Selling Oil
In the face of long term low prices for oil, Middle East producers are pre-selling their oil and future produced reserves. Export finance deals and trade finance arrangements are being made with Oman and other sovereigns in the Middle East. This approach allows producers to lock in profits and provides fast cash.
"Oil importers are experiencing uneven and fragile growth, and need to adjust to the challenges of spillovers from their oil-exporting neighbors and the threat from conflicts" - IMF
This happens in many commodity lines but it is quite a turn from the gold-filled days of $100 oil.
Oil is such a core part of MENA economies and Middle East economics so leveraging the oil for finance is not the normal - yet. Arab producers have used bonds to finance their trade in addition to profits from record high oil prices. Today Arab producers and their countries are seen developing serious credit risks unless changes are made. Despite what one may think - these countries have low political risk and locking in structured credit lines is not a terrible plan. The risks are if the bottom falls out borrowers will have to produce more oil. They of course lose any upside for the most part.
“Weak oil prices and high exposure to volatile investment assets are driving credit risk for GCC insurers. These factors are partly offset by the low insurance penetration across the region and improving insurance regulation”
- Mohammed Ali Londe, Analyst at Moody’s.