You thought $100 a barrel was high. Options to buy oil for $200 a barrel have grown tenfold on the Nymex exchange in recent weeks, Bloomberg reports. Speculators use oil futures to bet on expected price hikes. While $200-a-barrel options remain only a small proportion of the total, the number has been going up as traders gamble that events could cause oil prices to climb even higher than record highs.
Many forecasters expect the slowing US economy to cause the price of oil to drop well below the $100-a-barrel milestone, but others point to tight inventories and soaring demand from China and India. "I don't see how we get out of this box,'' one said. "Demand clearly isn't starting to slow down.'