Reuters is reporting that Iran has allowed its banks to issue debt instruments in foreign currencies. While the report describes the move as a way of attracting foreign investment capital to make up for reduced oil revenue, it also portrays the Iranian central bank’s attitude as pretty nonchalant about the whole matter.
The emerging consensus on Iran, Russia and Venezuela is that falling oil prices are going to limit their ability to realize their ambitious troublemaking agendas in their respective parts of the world. That’s very likely. And to the extent that Ahmadinejad and Chavez used their oil revenue to court domestic constituencies and deflect criticism of their disastrous economic policies, it’s easy to imagine them shuffling off the international stage before they get to deliver all the lines they’d rehearsed.
But at the same time, when you’re sitting on the kinds of energy reserves these countries have, to say nothing of the foreign currency reserves they’re holding ($80 billion for Iran), it’s hard to see the need for panic. Especially given that oil prices are still relatively high by historic comparisons.
Petty demagogues may come and go, but petrodollars are forever.