Crude Oil Price Cycles
- The heating oil and diesel fuel price runups in late January were made even more problematic by coming on top of the high side of the latest crude market cycle.
- Over the past 10 years, we saw crude oil prices rise and fall through several cycles as the demand and production balance shifted due to changes in world economic growth and associated demand, OPEC production adjustments, and other factors, including the exit and return of Iraqi crude oil exports.
- The last downward cycle was long and steep and ended in December 1998 at about $11 per barrel (WTI) -- the lowest price in nominal terms since 1986. Prices stayed fairly low through mid-February 1999 before rising again.
- The latest price rise was swift. Prices are now higher than anytime during the past decade since the Gulf War. WTI closed Wednesday, March 1 at over $31 per barrel, and has remained near that level since.