Wednesday, June 11, 2008
This story is just in from the AFP (Agence France-Presse) - the June 22nd meeting in Saudi Arabia to discuss record-high oil prices is to be at the "head-of-state" level and Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds are invited too.
OPEC Secretary General Badri would not be drawn on which heads of state would attend the one-day gathering announced by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, which was less than a week after the price of crude struck a record high 139.12 dollars a barrel.If the oil market was well supplied, it would produce more than is consumed (which is not the case) and, as for the role of speculators, would there really be any sort of market without speculators?
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) maintains that the oil market is well supplied and that current prices do not reflect market fundamentals of supply and demand.
"The price has nothing to do with a shortage of oil. There's a lot of oil on the market. It's because of speculation and OPEC cannot control speculation," he added.
That's their purpose - to set the market price.
When a harvest is too small to satisfy consumption at its normal rate, speculators come in, hoping to profit from the scarcity by buying. Their purchases raise the price, thereby checking consumption so that the smaller supply will last longer. Producers encouraged by the high price further lessen the shortage by growing or importing to reduce the shortage. On the other side, when the price is higher than the speculators think the facts warrant, they sell. This reduces prices, encouraging consumption and exports and helping to reduce the surplus.