Sunday, November 11, 2007

$100 Oil Seen Putting Burma Junta Over a Barrel Again


Oil was $72 a barrel in August when a budget crunch forced Myanmar's ruling generals to slash fuel subsidies, sparking protests that snowballed into the biggest anti-junta uprising in two decades.

Since then, crude prices have climbed 35 percent to near $100 a barrel, and with no new revenues coming in from natural gas sales or anywhere else in a shambolic economy, the regime has little option but to raise fuel prices again, analysts say.

"The pressure must be on," said Sean Turnell of Australia's Macquarie University and author of the Burma Economic Watch academic journal, predicting state-subsidized diesel, which doubled in August, may have to rise by as much as 40 percent.

The added burden on households already struggling to cope with inflation estimated at around 50 percent a year could well trigger another round of protests against 45 years of unbroken military rule.

For the full report, please click here.

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