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Abstract

Following recent international oil price increases, there has been considerable interest in how this external factor can affect the South African economy. This paper reports results from a computable general equilibrium (CGE) analysis of an increase (up to 30 per cent) in international oil prices. Background information is provided, which puts the magnitude of the price variations in historical context. We describe the procedure used to adjust the social accounting matrix (SAM), which is used to calibrate the model, to account explicitly for crude oil. Then, the effects of the crude oil price increase are traced through the economy, from markets, industries through to factors, households and the government. Predictably, the shock hurts the economy: a 20 per cent increase results in a drop in GDP of 1 per cent. It is found that the major impact is to be found in the petroleum industry itself, whereas the effects on liquid fuel dependent industries such as transport is not as large as may be supposed. In agriculture, it is found that the depreciating currency has a positive effect, offsetting most of the negative effects of higher petroleum prices, particularly in export-oriented areas. In a long-term scenario, capital and skilled labour becomes mobile, and the results suggest that such reallocation may not be to the overall advantage of the economy.

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