Lapse of the US-Saudi petrodollar deal : a significant shift

Lapse of the US-Saudi petrodollar deal would mark a significant shift in the global economic and geopolitical landscape, profoundly affecting West Asia and the broader financial markets worldwide. Established in the 1970s, the petrodollar system has been a cornerstone of global finance, anchoring the US dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency and stabilizing the oil markets. Its dissolution would trigger multifaceted consequences.

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Impact on West Asia

  1. Economic Realignment: West Asia, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, relies heavily on oil exports denominated in US dollars. A shift away from the petrodollar system could prompt these nations to diversify their economic alliances and currency holdings. Countries like Saudi Arabia might increase their economic cooperation with emerging powers such as China and India, potentially accepting payments in yuan or rupees. This realignment could dilute US influence in the region.
  2. Regional Geopolitics: The US-Saudi relationship has been a bedrock of regional stability (albeit contentious) for decades. The end of the petrodollar deal could embolden regional players like Iran, which has long sought to reduce US hegemony. This power shift might lead to increased competition and rivalry, particularly in areas like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, where geopolitical contests are already intense.
  3. Economic Diversification Efforts: Gulf states have been pursuing economic diversification through initiatives like Saudi Vision 2030. The lapse of the petrodollar deal might accelerate these efforts as countries seek to reduce their dependence on oil revenues and dollar inflows. Investment in non-oil sectors such as technology, tourism, and renewable energy could see a significant boost.

Impact on Global Financial Markets

  1. Currency Volatility: The US dollar’s dominance in global trade and finance is partly due to the petrodollar system. If oil-exporting countries start accepting multiple currencies, the demand for the dollar could diminish, leading to increased volatility in the forex markets. Currencies of major oil-importing countries, like the euro, yuan, and yen, might appreciate, causing shifts in global trade balances.
  2. US Dollar Depreciation: A reduction in the global demand for US dollars would likely lead to its depreciation. While this could benefit US exporters by making their goods cheaper abroad, it would also increase the cost of imports, potentially driving inflation. For countries with large dollar-denominated debts, a weaker dollar could ease repayment burdens.
  3. Impact on US Treasury Markets: The petrodollar system has historically ensured a steady flow of capital into US Treasury securities, helping to finance the American deficit at low-interest rates. The end of this arrangement could lead to higher borrowing costs for the US government as the demand for Treasuries wanes, potentially triggering a rise in global interest rates.
  4. Shift to Alternative Assets: Investors might diversify away from dollar-denominated assets to hedge against potential risks. Gold and other precious metals could see increased demand as safe-haven assets. Additionally, cryptocurrencies and other digital assets might gain traction as alternatives to traditional fiat currencies, reflecting a broader shift in investment strategies.

Broader Economic Implications

  1. Global Trade Dynamics: The dissolution of the petrodollar system could lead to the creation of new trade alliances and blocs. Countries might engage in bilateral trade agreements using their own currencies or a basket of currencies, which could enhance economic cooperation outside the Western financial framework. This shift could also lead to the development of regional trading hubs and financial centers, further decentralizing global trade.
  2. Energy Market Reconfigurations: The pricing and trading of oil in multiple currencies could introduce complexity into the energy markets. It might also lead to the establishment of new oil benchmarks, reducing the dominance of WTI and Brent crude. Countries with significant oil imports and exports would need to manage currency risk more actively, potentially using more sophisticated hedging strategies.
  3. Global Economic Balance: The shift away from the petrodollar could expedite the decline of US economic hegemony and the rise of a multipolar world order. Emerging economies, particularly in Asia, might gain greater influence in global financial institutions and forums. This rebalancing could lead to more inclusive global governance structures but might also introduce new challenges in achieving international consensus on economic policies.


Lapse of the US-Saudi petrodollar deal would mark a significant shift with far-reaching implications. For West Asia, it would mean economic and geopolitical realignment, potentially diminishing US influence while empowering regional rivals and accelerating economic diversification efforts. On the global stage, financial markets would face increased volatility, a potential shift in the US dollar’s status, and broader changes in trade and investment patterns. While these changes pose significant risks, they also offer opportunities for new alliances and economic structures, potentially leading to a more diversified and resilient global economy. The transition, however, would require careful navigation to mitigate disruptions and harness the benefits of a more multipolar financial system.



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