Dr. E. Eugene Webb
Here we are once again, political upheaval in the mid east and immediately gas prices in the US take off. The question remains why? The answer is unmitigated greed. There is no shortage of oil. It is very unlikely there will be a shortage of oil. Believe me, if it looks like oil supplies are seriously threatened you will see all of the UN mumbo jumbo thrown out the window and the major oil consuming countries will move in politically and yes militarily to keep the black juice flowing. Why then is uncertainty the reason for rapid and unjustified increases in consumer prices. Answer same as above GREED. Everyone in the supply chain sees a chance to make a lot of money really fast based on fear not the reality of the cost of oil.
As long as oil trades on the open market as a commodity, speculators will use these events to artificially inflate oil prices for their own profit. Oil does not cost one penny more to produce today that it did three weeks ago. The pipe line is full and there is plenty of refined product. You might think all of this increase flows back to the oil sheik in his tent, but not so. Most of it ends up as profit for the Big Oil and the speculators who drive the futures market. Watch Big Oil’s profit reports in the next few quarters and futures divisions of the major brokerage houses. They will continue to sky rocket. Big oil loves all of this chaos. They are the ones who profit the most.
Given the strategic importance of oil to all economies, it is time put the futures traders who suck billions out of the economy, while adding no real value, out of the oil business. Oil producing and oil consuming nations need to take oil out of the futures trading market, establish a global crude oil management system and fix crude oil prices to a unique currency made up of a combination of the Euro, Dollar and Yen. Nothing would do more to stabilize the global economy and give emerging nations economic and political stability.