Veteran readers of my column are familiar with my bullish position on oil. I simply believe demand for oil will push oil prices higher, making the cost of gas for our homes and cars, and the cost of doing business, more expensive.
Why, after a time period of relatively weak oil prices (1986-2000), did oil prices start to rise rapidly? Different analysts will provide different answers (everything from supply problems from OPEC to national disasters) on why oil prices have risen. However, in respect to use, the United States’ demand for oil has not changed much over the past several years.
As I have written before, it’s my belief that increasing demand for crude oil from China and India are causing oil prices to run up. In fact, there’s absolute proof of this in the demand and use numbers for oil.
China is now importing in excess of three million barrels of oil a day–a huge jump of 70% from a year ago. And many other Asian countries have also increased their demand. South Korea’s oil imports jumped 19% this January from January, 2005.
As the economies of China and the largest Asian countries continue to growth rapidly (we are talking GDP of 7% to 10% in China this year), oil prices will continue to rise. Technically, from looking at the charts, I believe oil prices have formed a strong base and that the oil prices will soon test their 2005 record high. I really would not be surprised to see crude oil prices jump above $100 a barrel as China’s economic train keeps motoring along.
(This past January, China imported the equivalent of one-third the oil the United States uses in month. Only a few short years ago China was not even consuming one-tenth the oil the U.S. consumes).
So, where do oil prices go from here? In my opinion, they move much higher. For investors, the shares of quality, senior oil producers are worth a serious look.