So here we are: War and pandemic-tinged underinvestment are puffing up prices on everything from natural gas to coal, wheat and battery metals.
Most concerning is the market for oil. Spiking prices have pushed U.S. gasoline over $4, a third higher than a year ago, and diesel has risen even more sharply, to above $5. Oil inventories in the industrialized world have fallen for 14 months straight. And countries from Japan to the United States are tapping emergency stocks.
Amid this cyclone of commodity turmoil, there is one oasis of calm: The gilded parlors of OPEC.
Somehow, the cartel’s movers and shakers — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — have decided that the best response to global commodity panic is no response at all.
The brevity of OPEC’s recent meetings symbolizes the rigidity of the cartel’s strategy. OPEC’s March gathering — amid gyrating prices from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — clocked in at 13 minutes.
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