Friday, June 5, 2009

What Influences the Price of Oil?

The decline in crude oil prices that began in mid-2008 was historic – plunging over $90 per barrel in just eight months. Over the past four months, however, crude oil prices have spiked up nearly $30 per barrel. Today’s chart provides some perspective on the historic decline and recent spike with a long-term view of inflation-adjusted West Texas Intermediate Crude.

Today's chart illustrates that most oil price spikes were a result of Middle East crises and often preceded or coincided with a US recession. It is also interesting to note that the recent spike in oil prices has brought the price of oil back to a relatively high level – a level that was surpassed only during the major price spikes of 1979-1982 and 2005-2008.

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