Even as gas continues to creep ever higher, removing substantial marginal purchasing capacity from the US consumer, a topic beaten to death previously, the oil exporting cartel remembers that in a world strapped for energy, oil prices can and will be quite sticky. Which is why now that OPEC has had its refreshed taste for $120 brent after a three year hiatus, it will most certainly not let the price of crude drop into double digit territory absent another massive deflationary shock a la the fall of 2008. To wit, OPEC has just announced that $120 oil is an acceptable level and will "not hinder global growth." Funny - if one pulls OPEC press releases from the summer of 2008, the cartel used verbatim words to describe $150 oil, and its impact on the world economy. Then again, as Dallas Fed's Fisher pointed out earlier today, commodities are now exposed to the same excess liquidity bubble that took crude to its all time highs. We expect nothing less this time around, especially now that for some inexplicable reason, the world believes that the Fukushima situation is contained and thus the "demand destruction" part of the equation can fall out.
OPEC believes the oil price is approaching $120 per barrel but unlikely to go higher, a level that is "acceptable" and will not hinder global growth, Iraqi oil minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi said on Tuesday.
"Global oil prices are moving towards $120 a barrel. We consider this an acceptable price that will not harm global growth," Luaibi told a news conference in Baghdad. "We think the price will not exceed $120 per barrel."
Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, with Brent crude falling below $115 a barrel as investors betting prices would rise with Western involvement in Libya took profits in anticipation of a slowdown in air strikes.