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Analysts Puzzled over Oil Prices

I have said many times that I think that oil prices have gotten ahead of themselves. Yes, supply is tight, and I figured $100 oil next year was a good bet as supply further tightened, but the recent run-up looks like it is due for a pullback. A story in USA Today quotes analysts who feel the same:

Oil’s record has analysts puzzled

The price of oil again set a record Tuesday, easily blowing through the previous high earlier this month, in a move some analysts said was absurd because there was no solid, supply-and-demand reason for it.

“Very overdone,” commented Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia.

“Fundamental reasons? I don’t see any,” said James Williams, economist at WTRG Economics.

Hitting $100 a barrel either could erase a psychological barrier to even higher prices, or it could trigger a been-there, done-that mentality. “You know, ‘Now we’ve hit $100 and we’re done with that,’ and prices drop back $20 or $30 to something more consistent with supply and demand,” Williams said.

I can see them dropping back to the $80’s in the short-term, before climbing again next year. But these oil prices continue to defy gravity.

November 21, 2007 Posted by | analysts, oil prices | 15 Comments

Analysts – Correct 52% of the Time!

A sign the oil prices are headed down:

OPEC fears may hike price

Crude oil may rise next week on speculation that OPEC won’t increase production as fast as consumption grows this winter. Twenty-one of 35 analysts surveyed, or 60 per cent, said oil prices will rise through Nov. 9, the first bullish response since July 6.

Is that a mistake? The first bullish response since July 6th? So they were bearish throughout a 30% rise in price, and now become bullish? That’s funny. But this may be even funnier:

Respondents have predicted price drops in the previous 16 weeks. Prices have declined in five of those weeks. The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 52 percent of the time since the survey’s introduction in 2004.

Wow! All that analyzing, and correct 52% of the time. I can’t even think of anything funny enough to do that justice.

However, that seems to fly in the face of yesterday’s OPIS report:

11/1 – Crude oil traders moved to take profits this afternoon amid a flurry of forecasts for a steeper downward correction. Analysts this afternoon pointed to a recovering U.S. dollar as a catalyst for more selling.

I guess I will just flip a coin. I know my 50% odds aren’t quite as good as the 52% accuracy rate of the analysts, but my coin flip doesn’t charge me for the prediction.

November 2, 2007 Posted by | analysts, oil prices, opis | 5 Comments