World Perspectives
energy

Oil and Food

The price of petroleum has plummeted, putting countries that are highly dependent on its export earnings into deep fiscal trouble. This should hinder their amount of foreign exchange and thus food imports beyond basic necessity. However, looking at the recent history of U.S. food exports to these countries and the average annual value of oil, there is no discernible pattern except perhaps a negative correlation. There could be several reasons for this disconnection. First, the U.S. is not a main supplier of food to many of these countries. In fact, Washington has trade embargoes against OPEC members like Iran and Venezuela, plus restrictions on trade with Russia. Even close ally Saudi Arabia shows minimal relationship (R2 = 0.11) between t...

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