Research InterestsSovereign wealth funds; natural resource economics; economic modeling
Nader is a research fellow at KAPSARC. His research interests include development economics, economic modeling, and natural resource economics. He leads a project exploring the role of sovereign wealth funds in promoting economic diversification in oil-dependent economies. Nader holds a B.Sc. in operations research, an M.Sc. in applied mathematics and computational science, and an MBA in finance.
A clear objective of Saudi Vision 2030, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is to put the non-oil sector at the heart of the country’s economic development. The vision realization programs (VRPs), such as the National Transformation Program and Fiscal Balance Program (FBP), have established initiatives and targets to help develop the non-oil sector. It is important, then, to explore the role fiscal policy can play in developing the country’s non-oil sector.
Saudi Arabia plans to reform and privatize its power generation sector as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. To provide analytical insights, we developed a model that simulates the restructuring of the electricity market, along with reforming fuel prices to an energy equivalent of $3/MMBtu.
Oil revenue stabilization funds provide short-run protection against oil revenue fluctuations – in the way that Saudi government deposits and reserve at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) have historically served as a buffer to decouple government budget from oil revenue fluctuations. By contrast, sovereign wealth funds create income for future generations to replace revenue streams from depletable resources – one of the purposes of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. We developed a framework for optimizing policies for adding to and withdrawing from stabilization funds, which we apply to Saudi Arabia as a case study based on publicly available data. The quantitative results are sensitive to the specific assumptions on the likelihood of particular oil prices arising but the overall results are robust to a wide range of assumptions.
Trade between the economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and North East Asia (NEA) reached $471 billion in 2013, based almost entirely on oil and gas. The GCC sends 44 percent of its exports to NEA, which depends on the GCC region for a very high proportion of its oil imports. Trade relations are otherwise very limited: the GCC takes only 3 percent of NEA’s exports.
It is popularly believed that importers of oil diversify their suppliers to achieve security of supply and that exporters diversify their customer base to achieve security of demand. However, this diversification comes at a cost, compared with buying from or selling to the most economically attractive counterparties— analogous to paying an insurance premium. In fact, our research suggests that this illustration may not properly describe the outcomes for large individual producers or consumers (or coalitions of these) and that diversification can also be a strategy for revenue maximization or cost minimization. We have developed KAPSARC’s Global Oil Trade Model (GOTM), which is calibrated to the configuration of the global oil markets in 2012, to demonstrate our framework. Our model shows that, in 2012, the volumes of supply and demand and the trade flows constrain the valid candidates to combine diversification with economic gain. Only the trading pair of the Arabian Gulf exporters and North East Asian importers can benefit. This is the illustration that we develop in this paper. However, a future reconfiguration of crude flows—perhaps with growth in North American exports to the Pacific or a major pivot by Russia to sell material volumes to China and other North East Asian customers—could introduce new players. KAPSARC’s framework may prove valuable to understanding potential future dislocations in crude oil trade flows.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts to combat it have led to major global disruptions. Policymakers are faced with a dilemma that is not easily resolved. On the one hand, they are striving to protect public health by containing the spread of the virus. On the other, they must ensure the continuation of economic activities to mitigate the economic impact of the outbreak.
The study, “Optimal Policies for Managing Oil Revenue Stabilization Funds: An illustration using Saudi Arabia,” conducted by researchers from KAPSARC, was recently published in the journal Resources Policy. It developed a model that optimizes the buildup and drawdown of a stabilization fund. It offers key insights into managing a stabilization fund to support fiscal stability over the short and medium term.
Saudi Vision 2030 (SV2030), the strategic roadmap for the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aims to decouple the country’s economy from its reliance on oil revenues through implementing several economic and social initiatives. The key economic goals of SV2030 announced in 2016 include increasing the private sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from 40% to 65%, raising the share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP from 16% to 50%, and reducing the unemployment rate from 11.6% to 7% by 2030. It also aims to maximize local content by localizing more than US$70 billion of content, make economic agents more efficient and increase government revenues by removing domestic energy subsidies and introducing other non-oil revenue items, enabling further government investment. Developing the Kingdom’s non-oil sector would help it to meet these targets. Fiscal policy could also play a major role, given that Saudi monetary policy originated from the fixed exchange rate regime (pegging the Saudi riyal [SAR] to the US$).