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Page added on September 29, 2009

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Keeping a Close Eye on Impending Risk of Oil Price Spike

The biggest risk of higher oil prices looks to be the latest storm brewing in the Middle East. Our contention has been that oil prices are destined to slip back to their pre-stock-bounce range once economic reality sets in and demand remains persistently low. To that end, we own a hedge against falling oil prices.

However, the likelihood of military action against Iran by either the US, Israel, or both is growing, and such action would cause oil prices to spike. Let’s look at the situation and chance of an attack, and why it would put upward pressure on oil prices.

In April, the Obama administration granted Iran until Sept. 24 to open talks with the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, a group referred to as P-5+1. The consequence of not doing so was going to be harsh sanctions. Since then, Obama extended a fig leaf to the Islamic world with his friendly speech in Cairo, the appointments of special envoys George Mitchell for Israel/Palestine and Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan/Pakistan, and soft-edged diplomacy intended to reverse harsh feelings left over from the Bush years.

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