Ian Timberlake/Stringer

A visão ousada da Arábia Saudita para a diversificação da sua economia

LOS ANGELES – A Arábia Saudita mobilizou a atenção do mundo com o anúncio de um programa ambicioso, «Vision 2030», destinado a reformar a estrutura da sua economia. O plano permitirá reduzir a forte dependência histórica do petróleo, alterando a forma como o Reino gera rendimento, bem como a forma como gasta e gere os seus vastos recursos. Este programa é apoiado por planos de acção pormenorizados, cuja execução inicial já envolveu mudanças institucionais, que fizeram as parangonas dos jornais, num país mundialmente conhecido pela sua cautela e gradualismo.

O catalisador imediato para a reestruturação económica é o impacto da queda acentuada dos preços internacionais do petróleo, ao passo que a justificação para estas reformas já se tornou evidente há muito mais tempo. Num contexto em que as vendas de petróleo geram a maior parte das receitas do governo e o sector público é o principal empregador, há muito que as autoridades sauditas receiam que a falta de diversidade económica do Reino possa colocar em risco a sua segurança financeira a longo prazo.

A redução dos preços do petróleo para menos de metade nos últimos 18 meses foi acompanhada por uma alteração significativa do funcionamento do mercado do petróleo. Com o aumento das fontes de energia não tradicionais (em particular a «revolução do xisto», que quase duplicou a produção norte-americana para cerca de dez milhões de barris por dia em apenas quatro anos) o cartel petrolífero da OPEP, gerido pela Arábia Saudita, tem menos influência nos preços de mercado. Além disso, certos membros da OPEP, novamente gerida pela Arábia Saudita, estão agora menos dispostos a tentar moderar as flutuações do preço do petróleo, pois reconhecem que os «produtores à medida» enfrentam potenciais perdas duradouras de partes do mercado.

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