President Bush went off to Saudi Arabia, again, to ask them to please pump more oil.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.
It was Bush’s second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, head of the monarchy that rules this desert kingdom that is a longtime prime U.S. ally and home to the world’s largest oil reserves. But Saudi officials stuck to their position that they will only pump more oil into the system when asked to by buyers, something they say is not happening now, the president’s national security adviser told reporters.
The Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, announced that the kingdom decided on May 10 to raise production by 300,000 barrels at the request of customers, including the United States. He said that increase was sufficient.
“Supply and demand are in balance today,” he told a news conference. “How much does Saudi Arabia need to do to satisfy people who are questioning our oil practices and policies?”
Schadenfreude is strong in me.
When Bush first ran for president in 2000, he criticized the Clinton administration for high fuel prices and said the president must “jawbone” oil producing nations and persuade them to drop rates. At that time, oil was nearing $28 a barrel — less than a quarter what it is now.
Meanwhile, while fat Americans like me complain about high gasoline prices, other people around the world experience high oil prices in more tangible ways, such as starving to death. Story here.
With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.
Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.
Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.
Global oil output has been stagnant for four years, failing to keep up with rampant demand from Asia and the Mid-East. China’s imports rose 14pc last year. Biofuels from grain, oil seed and sugar are plugging the gap, but drawing away food supplies at a time when the world is adding more than 70m mouths to feed a year.
Markets are as tight as a drum and now the US has hit the stimulus button,” said Mr Currie in his 2008 outlook. “We have never seen this before when commodity prices were already at record highs. Over the next 18 to 36 months we are probably going into crisis mode across the commodity complex.
A Nigerian soldier on international peace keeping in Haiti went out looking for food to buy. There was a riot by hungry Haitians looking for food to eat.
The angry mob killed the Nigerian. Four other Haitians are killed in the riots and the Government falls.
Hungry and angry citizens were also out in the streets of Egypt.
At first the usually desperate Hosni Mubarak Government reached out for truncheons and guns. As the crisis became more serious, it sensibly deployed policemen to bake bread and attempt to flood the markets.
The situation across the world was desperate. In Jordan, 7,000 UN employees protested for more money; in February alone, inflation in the country had risen 9per cent.
In Syria it had risen 20 per cent in six months with the Government trying to cut subsidies. In Yemen, wheat prices doubled in one month.
In Africa, food riots exploded in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Cameroon while trade unions called a general strike over soaring food prices in Burkina Faso. Asia of course exploded with Indonesia having the trophy.