Oil prices have lost around 35% of their value since June and OPEC's decision to maintain its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day will not help to remove the glut that is keeping oil prices low. Nymex West Texas Intermediate crude has fallen below the $70 level and was trading at its lowest since May 2010, and Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was at its lowest since August 24, 2010. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in January fell to $69.08 a barrel, down $4.61 in the Globex electronic session. How long it take to bring oil prices back up will depend on economic growth and is hard to predict.
|The Drop In Oil Prices Will Impact Countries Differently|
Other major oil importers in Asia like India and Indonesia will also get a major boost because this should cause their current account deficit to narrow and the subsidy bills footed by local governments to shrink. For Japan oil prices are a positive, but much of the impact has been blunted by a weaker currency. Countries like Australia in which the government relies on rising energy exports and massive investments in oil-and-gas projects to cushion the blow of a sharp decline in minerals spending and prices will be hurt. Its booming liquefied natural gas sector sells vast quantities of the fuel at oil-linked prices.
While certain parts of the economy like transport services and airlines as well as some industries will benefit from lower oil prices dropping oil prices do cause some concern. When financial problems occur in the energy sector it is often accompanied by political instability and sometimes her ugly sister war. As a rule the economy loves stability, bottom-line dropping oil prices means more risk for an already shaky world economy. All this is being complicated by the recently strong dollar. The dollars strength and the rising American stock market could also be taken as a sign of an unstable global economy. The money flowing in from other countries in search of a safe home screams of a bigger problem! When a strong shift in currencies occurs someone usually gets hurt and this can lead to bankruptcy, default, or contagion.
A great deal of the shadow banking world overlaps and falls into the grey world of derivatives. A world that is both difficult to regulate and at times even harder to understand. To say derivatives are complicated is often an understatement, even the problem of defining what constitutes a derivative plays havoc with what and when reporting rules apply. The total derivatives market has grown to a massive size. It includes hundreds of trillions of dollars in over-the-counter non-reported agreements and private contracts and is estimated to be over 20 times larger than the global economy. Everyone paying attention knows that even a slight problem in a market this size could collapse the whole economic system.
Footnote; As always comments are welcome and encouraged. This article goes hand in hand with the article below that focuses on why currency trading may get crazy and what it means.