OPEC countries will take in $1 trillion in oil export revenues in 2011 if per-barrel prices stay above $100 on average for the rest of the year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has never broken $1 trillion in a year, even in 2008, when prices were high although revenues hit $990 billion.
“It would be the first time in the history of OPEC that oil revenues have reached a trillion dollars. It’s mainly because of higher prices and higher production," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, tells the Financial Times.
|OPEC headquarters in Vienna
Oil producers, wary that prices may climb too high and crimp demand, have agreed to boost output in order to ease the pain of their customers.
"However, Saudi Arabia has made substantial efforts to calm down the oil markets by increasing production and hinder prices from going higher," Birol adds.
The estimate does not factor in inflation, meaning 2008 export revenue may have broken the $1 trillion mark if inflation were factored in.
While higher oil prices may be good for OPEC countries and even non-OPEC oil producers like Russia, others are feeling the pain.
Rising fuel prices helped punish the U.S. consumer confidence index, which fell to 63.4 in March from a three-year high of 72.0 in February, wiping out five straight months of improvement.
"Rising food and gasoline prices are starting to take their toll on the consumer psyche, and Japan's triple calamity — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster — has been very unsettling," Chris Christopher Jr., senior principal economist at HIS Global Insight, tells the Associated Press.
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