There are some provocative, contrarian comments on oil prices from Charles Gave in the current issue of John Mauldin’s always thought-provoking “Outside the Box” investment newsletter:
The differences today compared to a year ago are that:
- Oil prices started rising above their long term trend nearly three years ago.
- The substitution effect should thus soon start kicking in.
- The ‘oil as a weapon’ really started to come into force in the past 18 months.
- According to OECD leading indicators, global growth is no longer in an ascending phase
For all of the above reasons, we continue to believe that the structural decline of oil will happen sometime in the coming quarters. After the 1970s/early 1980s boom and bust, it took twenty-five years for oil to recapture its previous highs.
Once the coming bust gets underway, oil may never recapture the highs it makes (made?) in the current cycle, if for no other reason that, twenty years ago, there was no credible alternative for short-haul transportation, heating, air conditioning, etc… (Remember Chernobyl, Three Mile Island…). Today, and even more tomorrow, credible alternatives will be in place.