Saudi Arabia has the most to lose from a sharp rise in oil prices | Larry Elliott

Saudi Arabia has the most to lose from a sharp rise in oil prices | Larry Elliott – Larry Elliott

With Riyadh dependent on arms supplies from the west, its threat to weaponise oil no longer works

The Opec oil cartel chose its moment well. Inflationary pressures had been building in the global economy for years and stocks of crude were low. With Israel on top in the Yom Kippur war, Arab oil producers decided to step in. They announced production cuts and an oil embargo on the US and other western countries.

The decision had far-reaching consequences. Oil prices more than quadrupled in a matter of months. Inflation rocketed, triggering demands for higher pay. Rising business costs led to job losses on a scale not seen since the 1930s. This was the moment, 45 years ago to the month, when the post-war boom ended and the era of stagflation began.

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21st October 201812:18 pm