Cheap Oil Keeps World Economy Off Balance

With crude under $40, investment dries up, nations lose revenue
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 5:18 AM CST
Kuwaiti investors follow the indicator boards showing the downturn of share prices at Kuwait Stock Exchange in Kuwait City last year.   (AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari)
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(Newser) – Oil surged 13% yesterday in New York trading—and still closed at less than $40 a barrel, reports the Washington Post. Cheap oil has been a boon for consumers in the recession, but the collapse in crude prices has contributed to further havoc in international markets from Canada to Kuwait. While OPEC is expected to cut supplies again next month, the organization is having trouble keeping pace with the world's shrinking demand for fuel.

Plummeting oil prices have discouraged companies from undertaking new exploration, which may lead to another price spike down the line. While OPEC remains sanguine about the future, non-Gulf states like Russia and Venezuela have lost substantial revenue—and, consequently, international clout. "With oil and natural gas prices having collapsed, the power of their weapons has been waning rapidly," said one analyst.