Business Monitor International Launches Special Report on MENA Crisis

By Business Monitor International, PRNE
Sunday, March 27, 2011

LONDON, March 28, 2011 - Business Monitor International has revealed a special report recently
launched on its website that looks at the key risks to global recovery and
stability following the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.

The report states that the wave of popular protests that have swept
across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since January 2011 constitutes
the biggest shake-up to the region for at least a generation, and its impact
will be felt for many years to come. The unrest also poses the biggest risk
to the global economic recovery this year, not least because of its effects
on the oil and gas industry
with the price of oil continuing to increase.

Although rising inflation has fuelled discontent, the protests are being
driven by more fundamental issues, such as a lack of democracy, high
unemployment and poor opportunities for social advancement.

Business Monitor International deemed Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen
to be most at risk of further unrest, although the company emphasises that
virtually no state will be completely immune to public protests.

Egypt will remain in a delicate transition to democracy, and if the
people's hopes are dashed, further protests could erupt. In Bahrain, the
growing demands of the Shi'a majority could transform the polity, with major
implications for Saudi Arabia, which fears unrest among its own Shi'a
minority in the oil-rich Eastern Province.

Libya's descent into civil war represents the most immediate risk to the
region and Europe. The country's oil supplies are of key significance to the
EU, but southern European countries also fear a massive influx of refugees
from the country. In addition, chaos and lawlessness in Libya could allow
Islamist extremists to establish a greater presence in the country.

More broadly, the crisis in MENA has served notice to authoritarian
regimes around the world that they are not immune from popular uprisings.
Governments in Venezuela, Belarus, several African countries, Central Asia,
North Korea, Myanmar, and even China will become ever more vigilant to the
possibility of public unrest.

As far as global financial markets are concerned, the combination of
supply-side risks to oil and massive political uncertainty in a strategically
important region is bad news for risk trades. Business Monitor
International's global macro team has modelled a 'worst-case scenario' in
which oil prices spike to US$200/bbl. The company's special report also
reveals that Asia's economic growth is particularly vulnerable to high oil
prices, because most countries in the region import more than 90% of their
oil needs.

European economies are also likely to be hit by high oil prices the
company reveals, and policymakers in the continent will also be wary of the
security risks of Libya's descent into chaos. However, one relative
beneficiary is likely to be Russia. Although there are several Russian oil
firms with stakes in the Libyan oil market
high oil prices are generally positive for the Russian economy,
provided that any price surge does not tip the global economy back into

For Latin America, higher oil prices are a double-edged sword with
Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia likely to see higher exports, but oil
importers such as Chile and Peru could be major losers.

The impact of higher oil prices on sub-Saharan African (SSA) economies
will vary widely. Production is concentrated in Nigeria, Angola and Sudan,
with most other nations being net importers. Measuring the impact of these
increasing in individual economies is also complicated by the fact
that many countries are exporters of crude and importers of refined oil (or
vice versa), not to mention that various governments will have in place
different policies on subsidies at the pump.

About Business Monitor International:

Business Monitor International (BMI) is a leading, independent provider
of proprietary data, industry analysis
ratings, rankings and forecasts covering 175 countries and 22
industry sectors. Its mission is to integrate Country Risk and Financial
Markets analysis with Industry Research.

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PR Contact: Matthew Brookes, Mermaid House, 2 Puddle Dock, London, EC4V 3DS, United Kingdom, +44(0)20-7248-0468

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