Monday, 7 February 2011

Recent events in Egypt highlight the delicate balance between oil, food prices and political stability

An article in The Oil Drum links oil, food prices and political stability in Egypt. With Egypt’s income from oil exports rapidly falling, its plans to reduce food subsidies, along with rising prices, were a trigger for unrest. Mike Pepler, our UK awards manager, explains the key points:

  • Egypt has been an oil exporter, but exports have now dropped to zero due to both rising domestic consumption and falling production.
  • Although Egypt does still export gas, it has made no new export contracts since 2008. The money available for subsidising food is in decline.
  • The Egyptian population has quadrupled over the last 60 years, and they now import 40% of their food.
  • Meanwhile, food prices are rising globally in part due to supply issues (global wheat harvests fell last year due to fires and floods in various parts of the world for instance) and, as I recently explained, due to the fact that our fossil fuel use is integrally linked with our food production system.
  • Recent rises in oil prices are tied in closely with increases in the price of food.
(pic: graph courtesy of the Oil Drum shows the close relationship food prices and oil prices)

See also:

We need to remember our food system is linked to our energy use

How events in Egypt affect oil prices

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