Friday, May 9, 2008

Countertrend Thinking on Oil


I invite you to consider the possibility that a significant drop in petroleum prices may be headed our way.

I've mentioned before that the FutureJacked working thesis on how Peak Oil will play out expects that this current spike in prices will lead to demand destruction and coincide with a severe recession, which also reduces demand. Combined with significant new fields coming onstream, we could see several years of reduced prices as production outstrips demand, with any supply shocks due to infrastructure problems or war providing temporary price spikes which will continue to come down.

This would, in my opinion, lead to the Peak Oil meme suffering a severe setback as folks focus on just scraping by and reorganizing how large portions of society provides for its food, shelter and jobs. The next big upswing in the world economy will be where we finally face the true meaning of Peak Oil, as an economy primed to roar from the ashes crashes into a resource constraint exacerbated by the fact that if we DO see a severe recession, a lot of "alternative energy" programs are going to starve from lack of funding.

First, I suggest you read Oil: One Last Head-Fake?, an analysis by the formidable Charles Hugh Smith. Be sure to make it to the final paragraphs of the analysis and check out his chart, which explains succinctly what I believe will play out.

Second, I would also suggest you check out a three-part series of videos and analysis from Elliott Wave International entitled Why Oil Prices Change. This is obviously based on their specific form of analysis, but a lot of their work on the oil market, while counterintuitive, has held up.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am partnered with Elliott Wave, as is obvious from the site. I do get a small credit for anyone who buys a service after clicking through, but that is not the reason for providing all the links - I don't make much from EWI. I do regard their analysis as important and think everyone with an interest in trying to model coming events in markets, society and politics can benefit from the massive amounts of free information provided by EWI.

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