Friday, June 27, 2008

Oil Price Speculation

There is a fairly large number of people who believe that blaming the oil price rise on speculators is wrong. It is purely supply-demand mismatch etc etc. These include people like Krugman, Ftalphaville, etc.

Surprisingly, these are the same people who believe it was speculators playing on no-down payment loans in a low interest rate scenario who caused real estate prices to go up earlier this decade. Why then isnt it possible that speculators playing on 6% margin in a low interest rate scenario (as it exists today) are behind this sudden crude oil spike?

To the question as to what could have been done to prevent the mortgage boom, their answer is - more regulation by the Fed. But, they are aghast if Congress talks of more regulation of the oil futures market.

It is bizarre. People believe Greenspan failed in not detecting and defusing the real estate bubble in time, but they are in arms if Congress tries to do something on oil. They want oil "markets" to work. Greenspan let mortgage markets work - the outcome is here.

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