Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Annotated History of World Oil Price Shocks

A sharp increase in Middle East geopolitical tensions, first with the resurgence of a radical al-Qaeda affiliate – now called the Islamic State – making substantial territorial gains in major oil producer Iraq, and more recently with an escalating military conflict between Israel and Hamas, has barely caused a blip in global markets and even in oil prices despite the fact that oil supply today is tight. At the same time, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia – the largest oil producer globally – has reached a more dangerous level, also with little oil price response. Indeed, it is difficult to identify another point in recent history when the Middel East – for all its troubles – was in such a precarious state; yet, as Goldman, rather rhetorically asks, this raises the question of whether the markets are being too dismissive about the recent turn of events.

150 years of oil price shocks...
An Annotated History of World Oil Price Shocks

and a close-up on the chaos of the last 8 months...
An Annotated History of World Oil Price Shocks

Perhaps the following from Goldman best sums up the situation...
At what point does the US panic?

Meghan O’Sullivan: The US should have already panicked.

Major American economic and political interests are at stake. The erasure of the Syria-Iraq border by a group that is considered too radical for al-Qaeda, the takeover of Iraq’s second largest city by IS, the kidnapping of international diplomats, and the declaration of an Islamic caliphate in large parts of Iraq and Syria – each one of these should be a major signal about the gravity of the situation.
Source: Goldman Sachs

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