More wild lurches ahead on the energy-price roller coaster

An oil field in the North Sea, off the south-western coast of Norway. PHOTO: AFP
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(PROJECT SYNDICATE) - Over the past 2½ years, world oil and gas prices have been subject to demand shocks and supply shocks - and sometimes both simultaneously. The resulting volatility in energy markets is both a reflection and a microcosm of a careening global economy.

The price of Brent crude oil declined from a "normal" US$68 per barrel at the end of 2019 to US$14 per barrel in April 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic spread worldwide. Two years later, in March this year, the price soared to US$133 per barrel after Russia invaded Ukraine. Now it is falling again amid growing fears of a recession in the United States. But the price could rise sharply if the Chinese economy bounces back from the stupor induced by its zero-Covid-19 policies.

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