Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 07:48 UK

Global cost of soaring oil prices

People queuing for subsidised kerosene in Indonesia
Even oil exporters like Indonesia are feeling the pinch

The soaring cost of oil is causing growing strain to economies around the world, rich and poor.

With prices more than doubling in the past year to $135 a barrel, the impact is being acutely felt by consumers and businesses alike.

The risk of strikes and social unrest has become a reality in many countries as fuel becomes unaffordable for more people.

BBC business reporters around the world examine the effects of the oil prices on their regions.

SOUTH ASIA

The soaring oil price is having a "huge impact" on India's fast-growing economy, Karishma Vaswani, the BBC's India business correspondent says.

Subsidies have kept down the price of fuel in India, says the BBC's Karishma Vaswani

Fuel prices have been kept down by substantial government subsidies and this has come at the expense of the profits of India's leading oil companies.

It is estimated that subsidies are costing oil firms up to $100m a day.

Our correspondent says the government is under growing pressure to raise the cost of fuel.

But such a move would be extremely costly and politically risky in an election year.

ASIA PACIFIC

Sky-high oil prices are sending "major shockwaves" through the region's economies, according to the BBC's Singapore business reporter Juliana Liu.

Inflationary pressures are creating greater poverty, says the BBC's Juliana Liu

Few countries across the region have been immune to the rising cost of oil since most are significant oil importers.

Oil prices are pushing inflation in many countries to levels not seen for decades, directly threatening jobs and growth.

In Singapore, annual inflation is set to hit 7% while, in Vietnam, it has already hit 20%.

Even in Indonesia, one of the region's few major oil exporters and an Opec member, prices are set to rise above 10%.

Our reporter says this comes on top of the sharp rise in the cost of staple foods such as rice which is threatening to plunge millions of families into poverty.

EUROPE

The rising cost of fuel is one of the factors behind higher food prices across Europe, explains the BBC's Europe business reporter Duncan Bartlett.

Oil prices are also worrying the European Central Bank, says the BBC's Duncan Bartlett

Chipmakers in Belgium have been forced to put up prices to offset rising transport costs while UK fishery bodies have warned the average cost of a fish and chip meal could rise by 25%.

The rising cost of diesel has led to protests by fishermen in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy, who have blockaded ports and oil refineries.

Hauliers in the UK, France, Spain and other European countries have also been involved in protests, staging blockades and demonstrations.

Our reporter says there is little that the European Commission can do about the problem while the cost of oil is a major dilemma for the European Central Bank.

It wants to cut interest rates across the eurozone to support faltering growth but is reluctant to do so because of persistent inflationary pressures.



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