The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

World News

June 12, 2014

Iraq violence threatens OPEC's precarious balance

NEW YORK — The oil market has balanced out quite nicely for OPEC in recent years. Now, upheaval in Iraq shows that balance may be more precarious than it has seemed.

Dramatic changes in oil production around the globe have offset each other instead of wreaking havoc. This has helped world oil prices stay high enough to provide OPEC countries with robust income, but not so high that they scare customers away from buying more of their precious product.

One major stabilizing factor has been rising production from Iraq. But that output is suddenly threatened by an outbreak of violence by militant groups, who seized two cities this week and have threatened to march on Baghdad. Brent crude, the most important international oil benchmark, rose nearly 2 percent in trading Thursday morning to $111.30.

Brent has hovered in the range of $110 per barrel over much of the last 4 years, with remarkably low volatility for oil markets. That has also led to stable gasoline prices for U.S. drivers, who have been paying in the neighborhood of $3.50 per gallon over the period.

"It's comfortable for everyone," says Judith Dwarkin, chief energy economist at ITG Investment Research. "The global economy has recovered, oil demand is growing at trend, and prices are high and stable."

Or, as Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry said in Vienna Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain its current output of 30 million barrels a day: "Everybody's happy."

But this happy, stable market masks some difficult realities that OPEC has been fortunate to skirt. There have been production booms in some areas of the world that could have sent prices plummeting. And there have been shortages in other areas, including in OPEC countries, that could have sent prices rocketing higher.

OPEC is fortunate, experts say, because the organization would be hard-pressed to adjust if this precarious balance were upended. OPEC members have a very limited ability to either raise or lower production to steady the market, they say.

Text Only
World News
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Old story, new twists in Gaza war

    The third Gaza war is playing out much like the first one more than five years ago: The harrowing civilian toll in Gaza is now at the center of the discourse, eclipsing the rocket attacks by Hamas militants that were the stated reason for the Israeli assault.

    July 25, 2014

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children's clothing scattered in the courtyard.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Planes with Malaysia Airlines bodies leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash sc

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso (AP) — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in

    July 25, 2014

  • FAA lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.The decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT

    July 24, 2014

  • Nazi war suspect, 89, dies as extradition OK'd

    An 89-year-old man suspected of Nazi war crimes died in custody hours before a U.S. ruling Wednesday that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial.

    July 23, 2014

  • Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two military transport planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east as fighting flared in the region.

    July 23, 2014

  • Gaza blockade key to any Israel-Hamas truce deal

    Ibrahim Zain was driven from his home by Israeli tank fire this week, but says he'd rather endure more Israel-Hamas fighting than accept an unconditional cease-fire he fears will leave in place the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

    July 23, 2014

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Featured Comment
Front page
Featured Ads
Local Radar
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Front page