Economic uncertainty fuels oil price volatility, says Opec

12 August 2009

13 August 2009 | Jake Kanter

Oil prices continue to be hampered by volatility amid "conflicting" signals over the health of the global economy, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

The group's monthly oil market report for July said economic uncertainty was fuelling dramatic fluctuations in oil prices.

In the first two weeks of July the US's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price fell by more than $10 (£6) a barrel to under $60 (£36) a barrel, it then rose above $70 (£42) a barrel by the end of the month. Opec prices followed a similar pattern.

The drop was driven by negative news on employment in the US and Europe, while the subsequent recovery was due to increased economic optimism around improved house sales and salaries, Opec said.

Yesterday's WTI crude oil price was just over $70, while today's Opec crude oil basket price is $71 (£42).

Opec also lowered its prediction for 2010 oil demand levels, blaming the slow nature of global economic recovery. It now expects demand for its crude to average 28 million barrels per day next year, 500,000 barrels fewer than its 2009 estimate.


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