Resource Nationalism – Managing the Risks


One of the least expected turns in the Global Economy today is undoubtedly the return to centre stage of Resource Nationalism. The assertion of state ownership and control over the natural resources within their territories was believed to have had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s when, spurred by a spike in the prices of commodities and particularly in the value of oil, many developing nations then engaged in a wave of nationalisations and expropriation.

The unprecedented spike in the price of oil from 2005, has seen economic policies shifting again. This time, however, the move towards Resource Nationalism was not the reserve of developing nations. Surprisingly, perhaps, the UK was at the forefront when it introduced a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas profits in early 2006. Other countries including, states as geographically and economically diverse as Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Bolivia, soon followed suit by imposing various forms of direct or indirect expropriation.

As global economic uncertainty increased toward the end of the decade and while commodity prices remained high the pressure to adopt Resource Nationalistic policies was amplified by concerns over budgetary deficits and security of supply issues. Thus Russia banned the export in wheat in 2010, and most recently Southern European states such as the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain have reversed subsidies promised to foreign investors in the solar energy industry.

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