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WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia is quickly running out of oil

February 9, 2011 Comments off

US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world’s biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

Aerial View of Oil Refinery
Saudi oil refinery. WikiLeaks cables suggest the amount of oil that can be retrieved has been overestimated. Photograph: George Steinmetz/Corbis

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to Read more…

U.S., Japan told time running out to deal with debt

January 28, 2011 Comments off

IMF warns Japan and United States on need to tackle debt

* Politics make reining in U.S., Japan deficits difficult

* S&P downgrades Japan, sees no strategy to handle debt

* Bond markets calm on Friday, Japan vows fiscal discipline (Adds bullet points)

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Lesley Wroughton

TOKYO/WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Japan and the United States faced new pressure to confront their swollen budget deficits as the IMF and rating agencies demanded more evidence they can bring their public debts under control.

The International Monetary Fund said the G7’s two biggest economies needed to spell out credible deficit-cutting plans before the markets lose patience and dump their bonds.

On Friday, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan vowed to push ahead with tax reforms aimed at curbing the country’s debt, but an uncooperative opposition and divisions within his own party on policy make the chances of success slim.

“The important thing is to maintain fiscal discipline and ensure market confidence in Japan’s public finances,” Kan, who took over in June as Japan’s fifth premier since 2006, told parliament’s upper house.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Japan’s long-term debt rating on Thursday for the first time since 2002, and hours later Moody’s Investors Service warned the risk of the United States losing its top AAA rating, although small, was rising. Read more…