Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper (UPDATED)

It appears that Iran is on the offensive on the question of oil prices. First, the Iranian OPEC Governor, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, has disputed that supply is the cause of high oil prices blaming "international political tensions, a weak dollar and speculation" instead. Then Iran predicted that the price of oil would reach $150 "shortly" (Goldman Sachs agreed). A couple of weeks later, Iranian President Ahmadinejad urged OPEC members to dump the weak dollar, a proposal that Iran had already made six months ago, adding: "They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper". Hugo Chavez, President of oil-rich Venezuela, also attended the same OPEC meeting where he declared: "The empire of the dollar has to end". Finally, today, Iran announced that it officially opposes the Saudi increase in oil production.

What is this all about? Let get some context for starters. First, the official version:

Now, for an alternative point of view, let's take a look at some analysis by American Goy, one of the sharpest bloggers out there. Check out his articles Why are gas prices rising and The speculation that is killing us - oil, food and greed. American Goy does not deny that demand is rising, but he crucially points out that "it is not the demand for ACTUAL oil, the black goo, that is driving the prices up so high (although it is rising, per standard market rules of supply and demand). It is the demand for oil futures, a commodity market, in other words for a shitty piece of paper" and he backs up his claim with this astounding fact:

According to the US Department of Energy, annual Chinese demand for petroleum has increased over the last five years from 1.88 billion barrels to 2.8 billion barrels, an increase of 920 million barrels. Over the same five-year period, Index Speculatorsʼ demand for petroleum futures has increased by 848 million barrels. The increase in demand from Index Speculators is almost equal to the increase in demand from China!


In fact, Index Speculators have now stockpiled, via the futures market, the equivalent of 1.1 billion barrels of petroleum, effectively adding eight times as much oil to their own stockpile as the United States has added to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the last five years.

Now does Iran's stance make more sense in the light of all this? Iran refuses the participate into what American Goy calls a "pyramid scheme" and, in particular, in the Saudi cover-up thereof (by increasing production the Saudis are suggestion that the root cause is a lack of oil on the supply side, thus hiding the real origins of the crisis).

Now look at this form the Iranian perspective: they are getting paid for their oil in increasingly worthless dollars while fattening oil commodities futures speculators who, I betcha, are not keeping their billions in greenbacks. Thus, what the Iranians are doing now, with the help of Venezuela, is nothing short of a declaration of war on speculators. We can therefore expect the anti-Iranian propaganda to reach new heights very soon.

UPDATE: Iran and Venezuela have announced that they are creating a joint bank with one billion dollars as start-up funds.