Did you notice the scuffle between Iranian and American forces in the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend? Oil traders apparently did not. News that--in the past--would have sent crude futures rocketing higher.
Instead, they greeted the news with a collective yawn and sold took crude down 3 percent on the day, 5 percent from the recent all time high. That makes me wonder how much geopolitical risk is really worth.
Stratfor, a noted global political consultant, recently argued that geopolitical risk could be the thing that actually brings the price of oil down. Colleague Bob Pisani pointed out the research and it's had a lot of people talking because it contains some compelling and original thinking. Stratfor basically wonders if things have gotten as bad as they can for oil producers around the world. Perhaps, there aren't any surprises left, except on the positive side.
We know that production in Venezuela and Mexico is declining. Nigerian disruptions were about influencing an election, which is now behind us. Iraq isn't showing signs of becoming an oil oasis in the desert, but we're used to not getting that oil. And Iran clearly doesn't have the scare factor it once did.
What an interesting theory! Who isn't tired of just hearing the phrase "geopolitical risk" connected with higher oil prices. Maybe it's no longer a risk. Maybe it's all already happened. And at $100 a barrel, perhaps we've even already paid the bill.
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