Angola’s Boom, Fueled by China, Goes Bust

The oil boom that turned this Atlantic coast city into the world’s most expensive for foreigners has gone bust, threatening President José Eduardo dos Santos’s long grip on power in Africa’s second-biggest crude producer, The Wall Street Journal reported. Property prices have plummeted by half and Western oil companies are laying off thousands; U.S. dollars and steady work have become scarce. Angola’s troubles threaten to reverberate as far away as Beijing, the regime’s sponsor and top crude customer. In the European Union, some Portuguese banks now rely on their Angolan branches to generate profit and Portuguese companies piled into Angola during the debt crisis at home. Expatriates who once paid hundreds of dollars for grilled shrimp at beachfront restaurants have gone. Poor villagers face flour and rice shortages. Luanda’s middle class, ambitious professionals who shrugged off Angola’s politics while the economy was growing, are for the first time publicly backing activists who have taken to the streets. Read more. (Subscription required.)