from Energy, Security, and Climate and Energy Security and Climate Change Program

The Real Reason Energy Traders Are Losing Sleep

October 5, 2012

Blog Post

What’s roiling the oil market right now? The old familiar source of instability—unrest in the Middle East—is far from the whole story, though it still tends to be the first place Western pundits look when the world’s most important commodity is in turmoil. But this paradigmatic hangover from the 1970s has become less and less adequate.

In a piece for Foreign Policy, I argue that a significant amount of the volatility in energy markets these days comes from sources closer to home than many U.S. and European policymakers would probably wish to admit. Economic and political uncertainty emanating from major oil-consuming countries—the United States, Europe, and China in particular—is proving at least as unsettling to oil prices as any decisions by Middle Eastern or OPEC officials. Check out my argument here.