As the Mercury Climbs, Will Oil Prices Do the Same?

bigdog posted on 06/16/11 at 09:25 AM



Summertime is here, and with it usually comes escalating oil prices. Or will they this year? 

It's a topic of some debate lately. Oil bulls point to the usual summer price bump, plus current factors beyond seasonal ones, like OPEC infighting and the continued political unrest in the Middle East. Add to that the specter of "peak oil" and the voracious demand for oil from China and other developing nations, and you have a bunch of arrows all pointing to upward pressure on oil prices long-term. Counterbalancing the usual seasonal price movement somewhat, it's often argued that high unemployment leads to fewer summer driving vacations, muting demand.

It's the mid- and short-term, however, where oil speculators really disagree as to price trends. As economists like to say, "In the long run, we are all dead." In the long run, yes, oil will become more scarce and, for a time, correspondingly pricey. But oil bears are quick to point out that, right now in mid-2011, the U.S. economy can't shake the pernicious effects of the Great Recession. Rising oil prices can only further hinder recovery - which may invigorate oil speculators to seek out more unconventional oil sources, like the oil sands projects coming online in Canada and elsewhere. 

(Incidentally, if you've ever shaken your fist at the crazy price gyrations oil speculators make for the rest of us, you might be interested - or incensed - by this Seeking Alpha article by contributor Kent Moors, Why Oil Speculation is Actually Necessary. His arguments are very similar to the ones I've heard defending short selling, namely that speculators on both buy and sell side promote better price discovery, add market liquidity, and generally keep market action well-lubed. Ha! Pun intended.)

As we head into what may be the Staycation Summer II (or is it III?), where do you see oil prices headed next? 


[image: Oil by ollesvensson on Flickr]
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Posted by bigdog on 06/16/11 at 09:25 AM

Comments

Lamp posted June 17, 2011 (05:39AM)

Before Juy 4th I see oil prices at 92 to 93. After July 4th until Christmas around 88 to 90. Since oil prices are based on the Dollar, I see little chance of the Fed printing more money after June 30th and Euro should go down in the near term,putting pressure on oil prices to the downside. Since most oil usage is for manfacturing, this puts further pressure on the oil prices over the next few years. So the good news for drivers will be lower gas prices. At least thats my take on the matter. Have a happy Father's Day everyone.

bigdog posted June 21, 2011 (02:57PM)

Thanks for those forecasts, Lamp. If you're right, that'll make a nice Christmas 2011 gift for all of us!

Lamp posted August 04, 2011 (07:40PM)

Bigdog,  with crude oil at $86.45 today, it would appear Christmas 2011 came early.

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