Oil market swing shows why analysts need the asterisk

The asterisk fixed to oil market analysis has asserted itself again. Twice. Any utterance about future developments in oil supply, demand, and price carries an implicit asterisk alluding to a disclaimer: Surprise disruptions to supply can demolish any forecast at any time. Surprises disrupt the oil market regularly. The asterisk exists for good reason. An increase in the price of crude oil that began in the Northern Hemisphere autumn of 2011 ended at the end of winter. The West Texas Intermediate Cushing price peaked at $108.39/bbl on Feb. 24, the Brent spot price FOB at $128.14/bbl on Mar. 13. Prices drifted downward until late in June. Market fundamentals were weak. Demand was sluggish....

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