Economy, Globe

Black Gold: The Peaks and Troughs of the Oil Market

Experts commented today that recent times have seen oil price volatility intensify, as indicated by the results of market fluctuations between the highs and the lows.

During the session in question, the spot price per barrel of North American oil marker, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, fell by US$3.35 (3.66%), closing at US$88.08 per barrel.

However, operators highlight that the session also witnessed prices break the psychological US$90 barrier on more than one occasion.

In spite of this, the price of this type of light crude oil increased by almost 15% during 2010. Meanwhile, in London prices of the European oil marker, North Sea Brent Crude experienced similar volatility.  The spot price per barrel of Brent crude remained above the US$90 barrier, closing the session at US$93.33 in spite of negative price oscillations.

Dollar appreciation and other economic indicators from the North American and global markets are among the influences which affected strong oil price fluctuations.

Other factors included a fall in the country’s oil reserves, harsh winter weather conditions and Wall Street indicators showing high levels of speculative activity, as well as frequent lows.

Crude oil spot prices were in tune with stock market activity.

Despite the weekly low, the overall price per barrel of crude oil remains high with forecasters indicating further increases this year and in years to come . Many analysts consider that the age of cheap oil is over, recalling that mid-2008 oil prices exceeded US$147 per barrel.

They forecast that the factors which gave way to these astronomical prices will persist, including high levels of speculative activity, increase in consumption and depleting oil reserves in some countries.

Furthermore, they predict that the amount of new discoveries of hydrocarbons will lessen, alongside heightened global tensions and conflict.

At the close of 2010, benchmark market prices of crude oil rose to US$90 per barrel.  Forecasters indicate that 2011 will see the price per barrel surge to US$100, with even higher prices expected over the next two decades.

Although for the most part, 2010 saw oil prices hovered within the US$70-US$80 range, an increase in consumption over recent weeks and a fall in US reserves have seen prices increase to more than US$90.

(Translated by Emma Hartgen –

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