(CNBC) Plunging oil prices have left many crude-exporting countries with budgets that simply won’t balance.
For many of the biggest producers — places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Algeria — oil accounts for the majority of the country’s exports and gross domestic product. Collapsing prices have meant dramatic declines in government revenue at a time when many political leaders are working to maintain social stability through liberal spending.
Saudi Arabia, the most influential of OPEC’s 12 member countries, needs oil at $106 a barrel in order to break even after the costs of its generous welfare programs and energy subsidies. Oil has been around $45 a barrel, and futures contracts don’t put it much higher over the next few years.
The vast assets that the kingdom socked away during better times will allow it to withstand a government deficit of greater than $100 billion for several years. But poorer countries have been forced to dramatically cut programs and still have massive projected shortfalls.
Those financial and political concerns will not only influence the production decisions OPEC announces at its much-anticipated policy meeting Friday, but will also determine whether individual countries opt to fall in line with the cartel’s “recommended” production guidelines.
CNBC took a look at how each the world’s oil dependencies stack up: