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Experts: Oil Price Driven by Fear, Not Fundamentals

Friday, 29 Apr 2011 08:36 AM

Analysts say fear, not fundamentals, is driving up oil prices. “The fundamentals of demand and supply, and spare capacity in the market, don’t justify these high oil prices,” Noe Van Hulst, Secretary-General at the International Energy Forum (IEF), told CNBC.

Van Hulst, who heads the world's largest gathering of energy ministers, thinks the “the fear factor in the market is significantly overstated.”

“It’s time for markets to take a fresh look at the fundamentals,” says Van Hulst. “It’s time to calm down.”

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Gasoline prices keep rising.
(Getty Images photo)
Prices, Van Hulst says, are being driven by “worst-case what-if scenarios,” which are “not likely to take place anyway.”

Van Hulst says that numbers from IEA and OPEC indicate that spare oil capacity is “still higher than it was in 2008,” but worries that if prices continue at current levels, economic recovery may be hampered.

Moreover, Khalid Al-Falih, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company in terms of market capitalization, told an industry gathering in South Korea that that there are “millions of barrels per day” of spare oil capacity available.

Samir Kasmi, head of energy commodities at ABN-AMRO Bank Dubai, says the Saudis “have to find the balance between generating additional budget revenues and not jeopardizing the global economic recovery.”

“We don’t have a bullish view for the demand side,” says Kasmi.

Bloomberg reports that United and Delta Airlines and rival U.S. carriers added a record $420 in fuel surcharges to round-trip European fares as soaring oil prices propelled first-quarter losses.

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Analysts say fear, not fundamentals, is driving up oil prices. The fundamentals of demand and supply, and spare capacity in the market, don t justify these high oil prices, Noe Van Hulst, Secretary-General at the International Energy Forum (IEF), told CNBC. Van Hulst,...
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