War premium deflates but fundamentals still strong

Watching oil prices deflate in middle of October might lend credence to the view that a war premium is still the primary driver of oil prices these days.After all, by the week of Oct. 21, crude oil futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange had slipped about $2/bbl off their early October peak of more than $30/bbl. Some traders sold long positions in this span, citing the apparent softening of the US position toward Iraq. Comments by Bush administration officials seemed to indicate a subtle shift in policy that Iraqi disarmament, not Saddam Hussein's ouster, is the US's primary goal. Coupled with continuing reluctance by the United Nations Security Council (namely France a...

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