I wonder if it's coincidence that this is happening ahead of what is effectively a media blackout for four days...
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil held above $98 a barrel on Wednesday, after closing in on the $100 milestone as the dollar hit new lows and cold weather in the United States, the world's biggest fuel consumer, stirred anxiety over winter supplies.I'm going to speculate for a minute here: if oil passes $100 before next Monday (there are three trading days, if you count time differences in the Asian markets), it will spike over $150 by the end of next summer.
U.S. light crude surged to a record $99.29 early in the session, but then edged down from this peak to stand at $98.39, up 36 cents at 8:04 a.m. EST.
Prices blasted past the previous $98.62 record, extending a rally that has lifted oil by 45 percent since mid-August as speculative investment rises, supplies tighten and the dollar weakens.
Crude has risen 45% just in the past three months, so a further fifty percent increase ahead of the Beijing Olympics would not be impossible. And none of this is with any reference to Hugo Chavez's rant the other day.
Coupled with the dollar dropping to record lows against the euro, it's gotten so that even the Saudis are making noises about the weak US economy.
Heading into the holiday shopping season, people are understandably edgy. Who wants to choose between Junior's iPod and heating the house for a month?
And where's the President's leadership on all this? Is he more concerned with covering his ass or with helping poor Americans to keep from freezing in the long cold winter ahead?
In 1979, if you're old enough, you may recall that Jimmy Carter was at least concerned enough to speak to Americans nearly weekly, recreating FDR's fireside chats, during that tragic economic period in our history. Carter instituted price controls when oil hit $15.35 a barrel, well before it hit its all-time peak of over $39 a barrel (adjusted for inflation, that would be $101 today).
Bush? Nothing. Not even asking us to turn our thermostats down and wear a sweater. No lowering of Federal speed limits. Bush is less effective than Jimmy Carter. There's your legacy, sir.
We're heading for a very nasty period in American history. We can't lower interest rates for fear the dollar will plummet further, yet we can't maintain them as more and more Americans default on their home mortgages. Neither can we raise them. The Fed's hands are tied, pretty much.
This nation has been destroyed by men (and a few women) hellbent on ideological concretization, with no regard to the one true fact of life: there is no "one right way". Frederick Winslow Taylor is an extinct dinosaur, and rigid dogma will always lose out in the end to the chaos of life and the planet.