Oil futures: picking a midterm scenario dicey

With the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna Sept. 15 to do little more than bemoan their inability to affect oil prices and debate the relevance of current quotas and price bands, now is a good time to reflect on paradigms and cycles and plateaus.The near-term outlook for oil prices seems assured: still on the high side and wildly volatile. In the span of a mere 2 weeks in August, oil prices dropped about $8/bbl. It wasn't that long ago that an oil price drop of that magnitude in that brief a timeframe would have resulted in much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. Yet the market largely has shrugged off that steep fall and instead continues to fre...

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