This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

African Food Riots Spread To Persian Gulf As Oman Is Next; Adverse Implications For Oil Prices?

Tyler Durden's picture


While deadly protests in Africa have been largely ignored, because, well, they are in Africa, and they don't even have iPads there and Kindle WhisperNet coverage is spotty if any, the world may be forced to start paying just a little more attention as food riots get ever closer to the center of the oil extraction infrastructure in the Persian Gulf. From BBC Monitoring, which discusses the latest outbreak of protests sweeping Oman "Most participants in the protest were reluctant to be quoted as they
were government employees. However, some said they protested against low salaries and soaring prices." Luckily, for now the protest is still peaceful. The thing about hunger is that it doesn't go away if you ignore it. And as Oman borders the UAE, all it takes is for the riots to jump one more border and then it gets interesting. And to all those observent enough to note that soaring prices continue to occur in countries with "growing unemployment" i.e., economic slack, and wonder how this is possible, after all the Fed said record slack can never lead to inflation, don't worry - you are certainly not alone.

From BBC:

A large number of young Omanis took to the streets in a peaceful protest march in the Al Khuwair district where most of the
government offices are located.

The youth, protesting against the general conditions such as soaring price rise and growing unemployment, were allowed to walk in a procession although there was heavy police presence.

According to witnesses, the youth dispersed peacefully after an hour-long protest near the Ministry of Housing and Interior Ministry building.

Though the ministry area was deserted when the protest was held at government department as the staff work only up to 2.30pm. the main Sultan Qaboos Highway saw a huge traffic jam of office goers from the private sector heading home. The curious drivers slowed down the traffic, triggering congestion.

"I could see a huge crowd in the ministry area and the traffic was crawling," an expatriate, who wished not to be named, told Gulf News.

Most participants in the protest were reluctant to be quoted as they were government employees. However, some said they protested against low salaries and soaring prices.

The police kept track of the protesters even as some joggers continued with their routine. The police did not interfere and the protest ended as peacefully as it had started.

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) had no comment to make when Gulf News contacted for details about the protest.

This is not the first time such peaceful protest was held in Oman. Recently some young graduates led a delegation to the Education
Ministry, demanding teaching jobs.

Meanwhile, social media was abuzz with the news about the protest.

While it is still too early, we believe that sooner or later, the riots will reach the Iraq/Iran/Saudi/UAE oil quadrangle, following which Europe will fall next. And then the catch 22 of rising food prices leading to reduced oil production, leading to even higher food prices will really get out of hand. Thank you Ben.

h/t John Lohman


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:33 | 884175 Ragnarok
Ragnarok's picture

I don't think there is such thing as a poor Emirati.  The only poor in the UAE are the workers from India/Pakistan and if they riot they will be jailed then deported.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:33 | 884208 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

I have first-hand knowledge that Mexico isn't far behind.  Plan accordingly, friends.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:35 | 884216 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

its not just mexico... Pirate activity in the Carribean is up... and not the normal tax free kind.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:00 | 884440 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

That would not be any news. Castro big mouthed months ago about "trouble" in Mexico, and his puppet (and a Rockefeller puppet by proxy) Obrador instantly replied by showering Castro with adulation. He compared Castro to FDR. Yes, to the eugenist, traitor FDR. It's no secret that Castro has a vast network of his operatives in Mexico. They entered Mexico as refugees on rafts and were later "taken" from custody by masked thugs at gunpoint. Castro's (and the power elite's) plan will fall apart. BTW, the big cartels creating all the trouble in Mexico are also nothing more than lowly employees of the global power elite.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:20 | 884493 66Sexy
66Sexy's picture

i always thought the drug cartels were CIA..


RE: oil prices -- enough with the boring as shit oil speculation trade; its more crowded than the paris RER red line

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:35 | 884548 Arch Duke Ferdinand
Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Billions of Asian citizens chasing higher food prices....Floods in add Mexico/Caribbean, Africa, Oil States chasing higher food prices.

What you have left is....the safest quadrant in the world...Canada's four Western Provinces having a plethora of natural resources/food w/ only 12.5 million citizens.

Led of course, by Vancouver BC, it's gateway city.

Which is why so many Asians have been relocating to Hongcouver, Canada's Geneva of Switzerland.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:41 | 884574 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Mexico? Cartel(s).. where do they grow thier dope? what countries do they control outside of that dust bowl (save valle de bravo,,_Mexico_State).


Mexico and cartel go together like... Carribean and heavily taxxed...


so, in mexico... you have mules... and mules are great workers, tuff even... but a mule is just a strong willed jackass by any other name... so what you mean to say is that the transportation people are fighting amongst themselves becuase they took on a bi-lateral roll in the drug trade... drop off and pick up. fuck, i wonder if my dry cleaners will be considered a cartel, one day soon... price war bitches! starch half off!


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:47 | 884794 anonnn
anonnn's picture

Inspect your map. See the US Navy-Marines flotilla ready top pounce on Iran?

Think it's only coinkydink that Kingdom of SA, world's largest oil exporter is surrounded? 

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 16:31 | 884950 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Once you leave the capitol region (Muscat) and head into the tribal zones, it's very poor. They know no other way of life. Thus why the Dhofari rebellion gave the monarchy hell until the Communists abandoned support and the Sheiks agreed to pay them off for peace.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:27 | 884182 whatz that smell
whatz that smell's picture

corn bitchez!

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:03 | 884265 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Paper food ETFs are on a roll.

DBA (a variety of foods)

CORN (3 guesses...)

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:21 | 884323 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

Heard on Wall Street:

"Let them eat ETFs."

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 16:13 | 884898 Cash_is_Trash
Cash_is_Trash's picture

Wouldn't that be amaizeing?

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 01:42 | 886489 Moonrajah
Moonrajah's picture

No, that's just corny.

But, mind you, anything WallSt sugarlips say, you should take with a grain of salt. Unless you have cotton in your ears.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:29 | 884189 Captain Kink
Captain Kink's picture

And look at feeder cattle here in the US futures.  These moves are to permanently higher levels...on the permanently lower dollar.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:02 | 884260 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

Mish says meat is the same price it was 5 years ago. No inflation anywhere.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:33 | 884356 walküre
walküre's picture

soilent green is people!


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:58 | 884434 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Mish doesn't understand that farmers are slaughtering their herds because they can't afford to feed them.  Meat prices will rise dramatically in the next 6-12 months.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:00 | 884538 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

Exactly, Mish does not understand that most ranchers are not in the business for recreation and exercise. Lots of complete herd liquidations as operators are thowing in the towel. 90 cent beef and diesel north of three dollars is a losing game. Not to mention sky high equipment grain and maintenance costs. 

As the herd count dwindles lower it cannot bounce back immediately when conditions become more favorable. Animals must be kept 2 years minimum to reach breeding age  and then 9 months before a new calf is born making it three years before you have another animal available for herd expansion. Then an additional year from birth to feedlot finishing before a product is available at the meat counter.

Cargill and Excel want to keep all the profits for themselves and seem to believe that ranchers will just carry on at a bare minimum. Look out for higher prices for at least 4 years even if conditions improve. Cattle futures years out are going to be better than cotton or gold. Hope you like chicken.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:13 | 884679 Captain Kink
Captain Kink's picture

thanks, cowdiddly, I sold this morning.  I had the 132 calls on March FC.  I do not know as much about the beef market as you obviously do.  I was just playing the breakout to all time highs from a couple of weeks back.  So you think this is likely to continue?  How much should futures a year out be trading relative to front month?  Do you know of any worthwhile blogs on the subject?

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:47 | 884795 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Check cattle futures prices to see what's coming. 

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:29 | 884190 Misean
Misean's picture

Poor, unemployed serfs rioting?!?! Don't they have food cards and Dancing with the Stars?

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:07 | 884277 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

The delaying of the local Ipad launch might have something to do with it.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:29 | 884191 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

These are still rich states with small populations. Slow to burn. Plus, when it is so hot for half the day, protesting becomes a drag.

India/China/malaysia/Thailand/ these are countries to watch. Very volatile populations, high population density and many living near poverty line anyways. Very easy to roust.

ben Ali, of Tunisia fame, trained as a policeman in the US. Amusing little tid-bit, that. Maybe at the School of the Americas?


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:40 | 884225 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

ben Ali, of Tunisia fame, trained as a policeman in the US.



Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:05 | 884266 Dingleberry Jones
Dingleberry Jones's picture

They are rich, but the rich are the vast minority. Hell, in many of those oil states, CITIZENS are the vast minority.

If the foreign slaves, er laborers, ever get pissed off enough, these countries are going to have a serious problem.  It would spread like wildfire, and governments would have a very difficult time to reigning a laborer riot in. The laborers in some places (particularly the UAE members) outnumber citizens by 2 or 3 to 1. It's insane. And you know most of those citizens are fat and lazy off of their oil money.

These states have oppressive slave labor laws, basically where an expat Indian/Bangladeshi/Indonesian/Phillipino/etc... are tied to an employer and can only change jobs if given express permission. Afte paying money to get papers to work for one of these oil states, laborers give their passports to their employers on arrival.  Magically, these passports often disappear, giving the laborers no way to get back home, and no official citizenship anywhere. Basically, they are slaves.

Anyways, if the laborers and the poor citizens were both pissed off enough, there could be some seriously bad violence going on.

I encourage any of you not versed in how ridiculous this situation is to read up on this stuff to at least become mildly aware of how wrong the situation is over there.  We whine about our situation in the states, but it is truly messed up in many of the oil states.


The dark side of Dubai:




In 2010, the UAE's population was estimated at 4,975,593,[80] of which just under 20% were UAE nationals or Emiratis



The Ministry of Economy estimates that in mid-2006 the total population was 2.577 million. Of those, 1.844 million were Omanis


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's population as of July 2010 is estimated to be 25,731,776 including 5,576,076 non-nationals



In April 2001, the country had a growing population of approximately 907,229 people,[9] of whom approximately 350,000 were believed to be citizens.


Yemen doesn't have as much of a slave labor issue but more of just a blatant human rights issue coupled with an exploding population.

It's estimated that Yemen will grow from 23M today to 60M in 2050. Most of those people are dirt poor and trampled on by a terrible state offender of human rights.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:40 | 884377 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Magically, these passports often disappear, giving the laborers no way to get back home, and no official citizenship anywhere. Basically, they are slaves.


Thats why you always get a spare.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:45 | 884386 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Very true DJ, I know that world first hand. Not all, but mostly terrible stories of subjugation and slave labour.

it will not end well and the blow-back effect on the diaspora's home nations will be huge. The stoppage of "gulf" money to the South Indian state of Kerala would destabilize the entire Indian economy. In a day.


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:54 | 884422 idle muesli
idle muesli's picture

Hari puts the worst aspects of a system that functions quite well for a recent third world country in the absolute worst light, and then adds faux indigation.


Most employees in the emirates are treated quite well by employers who have a reputation to maintan.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:11 | 884473 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Hmm, sounds like the area could use an infusion of US-style democracy.  When can the US invade?


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:30 | 884195 cxl9
cxl9's picture

Most participants in the protest were reluctant to be quoted as they were government employees. However, some said they protested against low salaries

Great. Welfare recipients compaining that they are not getting enough welfare.


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:30 | 884198 oh_bama
oh_bama's picture


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:34 | 884210 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Can't wait for when this happens with the public workers that provide water, energy, as we as sewage and trash removal.  The muni collapse should speed things up a bit.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:02 | 884263 MonsterZero
MonsterZero's picture

Let's see.. we have a neighborhood well we pay for the power for from a cooperative power company we're all members of, sewage goes out to a leech field in my backyard and I pay for one of two private companies to remove my trash every week.  America won't crumble quite as easy as some think.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:34 | 884211 alter ego
alter ego's picture

Things are unraveling fast.

The riots across different countries in the

middle east and Africa are not isolated events.

This is just the start of the beginning.



Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:35 | 884214 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

If you want this year's homecoming parade in my town, you have to pay for it.

Mayor Carmine De Pasto

[/animal house]

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:41 | 884228 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Everyone take note as these incidents will soon fall under "no one saw it coming" revisionist bullshit...

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:43 | 884230 Dingleberry Jones
Dingleberry Jones's picture

Mega props on reporting this stuff. Thanks a bunch for keeping us abreast of the situation.


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:46 | 884234 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

I'm sorry but doesn't this say it was a "peaceful protest"? How do you turn that into a "riot"? Fear-mongering once again???

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:55 | 884242 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

It is just bearspeak, Harry. 

Google translator into bullspeak says, "Buy the fucking baba ganoush."

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:34 | 884359 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture
by hedgeless_horseman
on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 11:55


It is just bearspeak, Harry. 

Google translator into bullspeak says, "Buy the fucking baba ganoush."


i am still laughing, thank you.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:55 | 884248 Arius
Arius's picture

wait until the wave it gets into Egypt - then you will see riots...

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:59 | 884256 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Why is it, no matter what the post, someone always says, "wait until...."? Always. For the past couple of years, there is always a "wait until..." At some point, just give it up and go with the flow. There are no food riots posted here, only a peaceful protest. So I guess, I'll just "wait until..." the sun blows up and we're all dead.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:06 | 884273 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

On a long enough timeline...

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:10 | 884286 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Wait until it cums all over America's face, Harry.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 16:16 | 884902 Cash_is_Trash
Cash_is_Trash's picture

You're talking some serious sovereign bukkake there.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:11 | 884290 Arius
Arius's picture

Harry -

for our sake i hope you are right - lets hope so.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:51 | 884610 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

I Pray that Harry is right... cause if he is wrong...

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:20 | 884497 Cheesy Bastard
Cheesy Bastard's picture

OK, Harry, I will not say "wait until..".  I would rather be 5 years early than one day late when it comes to food.  Do not wait! If I never, ever need it, it will have provided me the same peace of mind that insurance does.  Worth every penny.  You do have some kind of insurance, don't you Harry?

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:28 | 884520 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

"At some point, just give it up and go with the flow"

What if it is the case that 'the flow' is a river of disease spreading sewage? What if we don't have a seaworthy vessel made of retail stores and a potential tell-all book deal on permabears which should net you a pretty penny on the MSM interview circuit? What if we see that at the outlet of the shit river, there exists nothing but dead bodies and neverending debt? Sorry Harry, we're not all as evolved as you; not all of us are willing to 'go with the flow' just yet.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:58 | 884254 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

next quarter this article will be revised with more accurate data...  don't let that affect your decision now...  

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:06 | 884267 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Food prices are up huge across the globe.  Some think it is because of dollar and all fiat devaluation.  Tunisa has not had a standing President for days (after the first to flee stole the nation's gold reserve).  Other African countries then began to also riot.  Now protests have spread to the ME.  Europe has had many, many, many protests for months and months and months.  America, well there you are Harry.

A = A Harry

A = Fuckin' A

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:39 | 884566 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Because of rent being such a huge % of US household budgets, food jacks aren't raising inflation much.  Rent being flat or negative holds it down.

But this is not everywhere.

Food is 75% of an average Chinese monthly budget.

It's 92% of a Nigerian's.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:05 | 884269 lsbumblebee
lsbumblebee's picture

The Zionist-controlled media is making sure Americans understand that it may be necessary to send troops there to secure the oil, I mean the peace.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:08 | 884280 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

What if they are aliens, would it matter?

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:51 | 884811 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Don't you know we're already there? Major US Navy refueling/provisioning 

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:13 | 884303 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture


Oman is a Police State. Do you know how rare a protest of any kind is there? Oh, and 80 died in Tunisia. The gov't fell. Is that enough violence and death and political instability to constitute a "riot" for you? 

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:53 | 884243 alter ego
alter ego's picture

I forgot Harry.

For you, I will add a new line in the 10


You shall not spread bad news and fear

among zerohedgers.




Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:54 | 884244 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

First of all, lemme say that is light years ahead of almost anybody in the Drumbeat comment threads on analyzing what happens with oil.  It's littered with Birkenstock wearing left wing wackos who want it all to be about evil capitalists and global warming, but they are largely buried beneath the sheer power of The Numbers, and those numbers decide food.

Item: These countries "small populations" are not that small and not that native.  The oil producers produce with non native populations.  Bangladeshis, Pakis and Indians are all over the place twisting wrenches and cleaning oil executive kitchens.  They all burn gasoline getting to work.  And that is a Big Deal, because the gasoline is subsidized in these countries.  Gas is 38 cents a gallon and THEY USE THE HELL OUT OF IT.  Consumption growth in these countries is faster even than China's.  

This means production . . . the focal analysis parameter of oil . . . is becoming overshadowed by *export*.  Domestic consumption is chewing away at exports.

ANDDDDD all those non natives eat.  The food is getting sucked away from nearby poorer countries.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:53 | 884245 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

The one class you don't want to tick off is the middle class. Once they're unhappy, anything can, and will, happen.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 12:56 | 884249 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Speaking of Tunisia as covered in the MSM, I haven't seen anything that specifically mentions soaring food costs. They frame it as 'protests over conditions' as if it's all just a political issue.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:06 | 884272 irishgurl4
irishgurl4's picture

I noticed that as well.  No mention of food, just "anti-government" protests.  Seems more like conditioning of the sheeple to associate those who are against what the government is doing as most likely to be violent and therefore should be suppressed.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:02 | 884261 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Oh st vincent.....only u can save us from the scourge of pestilence famine and competitive devaluation. The demon dwarf and his legion of 46 must be defeated.....or perhaps we could just convince china to loosen the peg and call it a day...maybe go grab a beer.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:12 | 884300 lindaamick
lindaamick's picture

The reason there is no MSM coverage of the unrest in Tunisia and other African countries is because these movements are populist.   Labor is revolting.  MSM would only report if they could tie it to some US-focused propaganda objective such as a muslim generated revolt.  

MSM representing corporate and elite objectives would be scared to give populist/labor revolutions air time for fear it could spread.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:13 | 884306 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Could we be looking at the first stages of a " we will cut out the use of corn for ethenol and make it available for export in return for a 5 year break on oil prices"??? Nah--U.S.A. wouldn't use food in this manner.     Milestones

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:44 | 884385 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

John Doe has the upper hand... I repeat, John Doe has the upper hand.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:45 | 884387 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

John Doe has the upper hand... I repeat, John Doe has the upper hand.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:14 | 884308 cbtrice
cbtrice's picture

Watch rice then, like Jimmy Rogers said. Vietnam 15% broke will be where africa and the persian gulf countries go to get basic food, like rice. 


Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:25 | 884338 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

The people who produce the oil will get fed.



Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:50 | 884407 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Dude, where's my turnip?

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 17:34 | 885190 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Love what you've done with your hair!  The gills suit you!

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:56 | 884428 idle muesli
idle muesli's picture


Anyone reasonably up on their knowledge of the Gulf would know that Oman is essentially a third world country with smatterings of oil; the Emirates one of the biggest petrostates on an oil per GDP basis.

Your comments are like writing "When the poverty in Harlem spreads to Manhattan..."

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 15:02 | 884647 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Well, guess what? Poverty refers to the impoverished, who en masse will flow to any  place where the poverty has not yet gotten.

Do you really think they will stay in Harlem, when all the world's wealth is aggregated just down the street?

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 15:07 | 887789 idle muesli
idle muesli's picture

500 miles of highway through desert to cross, with tons of jet fighter-bombers overhead.

Far more likely is that the Emirates revoke some visa granted to Indians and the like, and give Omanis jobs.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:21 | 884504 Gimp
Gimp's picture

Bankers get rich, millions starve in Africa, power elite don't give a sh*t but they will tell you how they generously contributed to aid organizations.....

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 17:44 | 885241 mkkby
mkkby's picture

There was a great article on ZH a few weeks ago, which showed the world wide per capita income by percentile.  If someone can repost the URL I would appreciate it. 

The main takeaway was 80% of the world population makes $10 per day or less -- that's around 5.5 billion.  Around 20% or 1.4 billion make less than $1 per day, if I'm remembering correctly.  This highlights how much pain a very small amount of inflation can cause.  Money printing, peak debt and oil will harm billions.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!