OPEC's uncertainty premium

There may be a new risk premium in crude oil pricing. The market has seen the evolution of risk premiums from geopolitics to civil unrest to war and to terrorism.Now we seem to have the OPEC uncertainty premium, inaugurated with the Feb. 10 ministerial meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Algiers. More than a few analysts were surprised by the result of that meeting, which was a twofold agreement to rein in current production over quota and then institute a 1 million b/d cut in the group quota effective Apr. 1. Most market-watchers (this one included) expected the group to just roll over their current accord and at the most pledge to curb quotabreaking. Our gull...

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