May 29, 2008
Oil price mocks fuel realities
By F William Engdahl
As business and consumers consider the implications for them of crude oil selling at US$130-plus per barrel, they should bear in mind that, at a conservative calculation, at least 60% of that price comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds, banks and financial groups using the London ICE Futures and New York Nymex futures exchanges and uncontrolled inter-bank or over-the-counter trading to avoid scrutiny (see Speculators knock OPEC off oil-price perch, Asia Times Online, May 6, 2008).
US margin rules of the government's Commodity Futures Trading Commission allow speculators to buy a crude oil futures contract on the Nymex by paying only 6% of the value of the contract. At the present price of around $130 per barrel, that means a futures trader only has to put up about $8 for every barrel. He borrows the other $120.
This extreme "leverage" of 16 to one helps drive prices to wildly unrealistic levels and offset bank losses in subprime and other disasters at the expense of the overall population.
The hoax of "peak oil" - namely the argument that oil production has hit the point where more than half all reserves have been used and the world is on the downslope of oil at cheap price and abundant quantity - has enabled this costly fraud to continue since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, with the help of key banks, oil traders and big oil majors.
Washington is trying to shift blame, as always, to Arab oil producers and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The problem is not a lack of crude oil supply. In fact, the world is in over-supply now. Yet the price climbs relentlessly higher. Why? The answer lies in what are clearly deliberate US government policies that permit the unbridled oil price manipulations.
World oil demand flat, prices boom
The chief market strategist for one of the world's leading oil industry banks, David Kelly, of JP Morgan Funds, recently admitted something telling to the Washington Post: "One of the things I think is very important to realize is that the growth in the world oil consumption is not that strong."