Who Makes the Oil Price? An Analysis of Oil Price Movements 1978-82

A study of o i l developments during ‘1978-82 may provide some important insights into the operation of the pricing mechanism for petroleum in international trade. First of all, this period enables us to study the behaviour of oil producers in both arising and a falling market. In 1979/80 excess demand pushed prices up more than threefold. Two years later the position changed to one of unprecedented excess supply, with OPEC producing at less than 55 per cent of capacity. As we shall see the evidence suggests marked asymmetries i n behaviour according to market conditions.

By: S. Roberts

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