Saturday, June 02, 2007

Don't Oil Prices Matter Any More?

It can't be more than three years since analysts were telling us that the world economy could withstand 30-, even 40-dollar/bbl oil, but that it would run into serious difficulties if oil reached 50 and stayed there. Now, it hovers consistently around 70 dollars, and nobody is complaining. Well, only complaining.

I know the emerging market economies and other developing countries are doing just fine too, because the IMF has completely fallen off the radar screen and Paul Wolfowitz is the only reason we hear about the World Bank. (Sidebar: By all accounts, Robert Zellick is the best bureaucrat everybody loves to hate.)

The only reason those analysts haven't been burned at the stake is because they didn't get it wrong the other way. That is, it's harder to make people lose money (in absolute terms) in a rising market.

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