Gas Prices Are Going Up No Matter What Happens In Iran

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
By Paul Martin

EconMatters
BusinessInsider.com
2-22-2012

Oil futures spiked more than 2% in one day to their highest level in nine months on Tuesday Feb. 21. WTI front month contract closed at $105.84, while Brent ended at $121.66 on ICE, primarily on investors fear of potential conflict over the escalating tensions between the US, Europe, Israel, and Iran. A second Greek bailout deal of €130bn (£110bn; $170bn) also helped to inject some optimism into the market (which would seem totally mis-placed as we may need to relive this Greek drama in two years). Nevertheless, the fact remains crude oil market supply and demand has not changed a bit to warrant a 2%+ price jump in one day.
The U.S. and its allies believe Iran is building nuclear weapons, which Tehran has vehemently denied. Last week, the European Union (EU) imposed a ban on Iran oil imports effective July 1, and froze the assets of its central bank. In December, the U.S. said it would “blacklist” companies in the U.S. market if they do business with Iran’s central bank.

In retaliation, over the weekend, Iran announced that it halted oil exports to France and the United Kingdom and warned European companies that it would halt their supplies unless they sign long-term contracts. However, France and UK do not import a significant portion of crude oil from Iran, and Europe could most likely still get alternative crude supplies from other sources like Saudi, or Russia.

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