Wednesday, November 12, 2008

oil prices

A recent poll revealed that about twice as many Americans know the current price of a barrel of oil within $10 compared to the number who know the name of the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
This archane bit of information on the current price of a commodity is in fact quite useful.
When the price of a barrel of oil goes up or down, the price of gasoline tends to follow. For example, the price of oil was about $140 last July, and here in mid-November it is less than $60. The price of a gallon of gas in July was well over $4, and is now below $2.
The price of a barrel of oil is also a pretty good indicator of the stock market -- at least it has been during the recent economic meltdown. When the price of oil is trending up, it is usually because there is some good news about the economy. When it is heading lower, it is because of belief among trader that the economy is shrinking and the demand for oil also will shrink.
Throw into this mix the recent report on the world energy outlook. The International Energy Agency predicts world energy demand will rise 1.6 percent per year on average between 2006 and 2030 and called for average energy investments of $1 trillion a year to ward of severe price spikes.
One more good reason to keep an eye on the price of a barrel of oil.


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