The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Will oil prices stabilize around $80?

Most commentators and oil analysts are convinced a further rise in prices is inevitable in the next few years as emerging market consumption grows and supplies increasingly come from more costly and technically challenging sources such as ultra-deepwater.

While there are disagreements about the extent and the timing of price changes, there is a remarkable degree of consensus about the direction: up. But the roller-coaster experience of the last five years should have taught forecasters to be much more cautious about extrapolating trends and assuming the future direction is obvious.

Price forecasts are notoriously unreliable. There are simply too many variables and too much uncertainty about the current state of the market let alone how supply and demand will evolve in future. The crucial role of expectations in price formation adds an element to "reflexivity" which is hard for forecasters to anticipate or model accurately.

Reflexivity is a concept attributed to billionaire financier George Soros, in which perceptions of market direction and market fundamentals influence one another.

from The Great Debate:

Quantitative easing and the commodity markets

-The views expressed are the author's own-

A warning by an International Energy Agency (IEA) analyst this week that quantitative easing (QE) risked inflating nominal commodity prices and derailing the recovery drew a withering response from Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman, who labelled the unfortunate analyst the "worst economist in the world".

According to New York Times columnist Krugman "Higher commodity prices will hurt the recovery only if they rise in real terms. And they'll only rise in terms if QE succeeds in raising real demand. And this will happen only if, yes, QE2 is successful in helping economic recovery".

A dangerous indulgence in post-electoral optimism

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-Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

It really is hard to resist the temptation to take a hopeful view of Britain’s new government.

Obama risks South-American style economic decline

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richard-wellings- Richard Wellings is Deputy Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Argentina should be an object lesson for the U.S.

A century ago, it was one of the richest countries in the world. Today, it has fallen far behind Europe and North America, after a hundred years marked by long periods of recession.

Economic priorities of an incoming Tory government

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richard-wellings-Richard Wellings is deputy editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs and editor of the IEA blog. The opinions expressed are his own.-

If the Conservatives are elected, as the polls currently predict, they will have to tackle the worst fiscal crisis in peacetime history.

The causes of the crash

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philip-boothhighres3- Philip Booth is editorial and programme director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. He is editor of “Verdict on the Crash,” a new book available from the IEA. His opinions are his own. -

In “Verdict on the Crash” we argue that government failure and not market failure is responsible for the collapse in financial markets.

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