As a result of the oil price plunge, the major oil-exporting countries are facing budget deficits for the first time in years. The growth in the assets of their sovereign wealth funds, which were rising at a rapid rate until recently, is now slowing; some have started drawing on their buffers.
In the short run, this phenomenon is not cause for alarm. Most oil exporters have enough buffers to withstand a temporary drop in oil prices. But what will happen if low oil prices persist, and how will policymakers react?