Saturday, July 26, 2008

OPEC, not speculators, is responsible for rising oil prices

From Fortune Magazine:
The leaders of OPEC have a long list of culprits for high oil prices: the falling dollar, U.S.-Iranian tensions, and shady speculators.

Here's one they seem to forget: OPEC.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries consistently claims that supply is not a problem - that there's plenty of oil to meet demand.

But last year, as the price of oil nearly doubled, OPEC was actually cutting production. The cartel produced 1.5% less last year despite adding two countries, Angola and Ecuador, to its ranks. That cutback at a time of growing demand helped drive prices up.

"They made a mistake," says Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist for Deutsche Bank, who thinks OPEC's drop in production last year is the No. 1 reason for today's prices. "The Saudis are responsible for trying to manage the world market. They underestimated demand and they overestimated non-OPEC supply."

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