Featured statistic: USD 18 billion

Date 26 June 2009

Up to the middle of last year, oil prices soared, doubling in the space of one year to USD 120 a barrel.

The oil exporting countries saw the revenues of their oil exports rise substantially. Since the economies of oil exporting countries tend to be little diversified, they are often unable to invest such large amounts of oil dollars in their own domestic economies. Therefore oil dollars are to a large extent invested abroad, as in foreign securities and direct equity investments, or in the form of deposits with foreign banks. Dutch banks were among the beneficiaries.

In recent years the amounts in term deposits with banks in the Netherlands by oil exporting countries grew steadily. The peak was reached in late 2007, when the collected deposits in Dutch banks by OPEC countries plus Russia and Indonesia ran to over USD 27 billion (60% of which was in US dollars).

In 2008, however, amid the financial and, later, the economic crises, both global demand for oil and oil prices came down sharply. As a result, oil exporting countries saw their exports decline, and the inflow of oil dollars dropped. This development shows up in oil exporters’ deposits with the Dutch banking community. Currently, these deposits represent a value of some USD 18 billion (half of which is denominated in US dollars), a decline by over 30% compared to the peak reached in late 2007.

Chart Deposits held with Dutch banks by oil exporting countries