رفتار اوپک در خلال سال های 1998 تا 2001
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Volume 42, Issue 2, Summer 2002, Pages 209–233
Price volatility has been a central feature of the world oil market over the past several years. Oil prices plunged to around $10/barrel in late 1998 and early 1999, then recovered and soared above $30/barrel in 2000. After seriously misjudging the oil market in 1997–98 and contributing to an oil price collapse, OPEC rallied in 1999–2000 and successfully pushed prices upward but overshot its target. In the first half of 2001 OPEC maintained high but more stable oil prices. Later in the year OPEC struggled to manage falling prices set off by a global recession made worse by the attacks of September 11 and the war on terrorism. The oil price collapse caused serious damage to OPEC economies. Price recovery became a survival priority, and this was the prime motivation for a more successful effort to reduce production in 1999 in order to raise prices. Because of accumulated debts and expanded government services, and their failure to diversify their economies, most OPEC Gulf states have now become dependent on higher oil prices to fund their revenue needs. This explains OPEC’s shift in strategy from market share to target price around $25/barrel and the adoption of a higher price band. But is the target price too high for the present world economy? Will it encourage or discourage the long-term growth in oil demand upon which OPEC depends? Political factors are also important in OPEC’s improved discipline, including changes in government in Venezuela and other states, a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, and increased professionalism on the part of OPEC itself in managing and reacting to the oil market. Nevertheless, OPEC has difficulty in exercising its market power. It has only one instrument—adjusting supply—to meet seasonal demand changes for crude oil, changes in Iraqi exports, price movements, and shifting economic conditions. The oil market is a difficult market to manage, and OPEC still works with imperfect data and limited instruments. There are important aspects of the market over which it has little control. Price volatility is therefore likely to continue in the years ahead.
Price volatility has been a central feature of the world oil market over the past several years. Oil prices plunged to around $10/barrel in late 1998 and early 1999, then recovered and soared above $30/barrel in 2000 (see Fig. 1). What economic and political factors explain recent oil market developments, and what has been the role of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which controls 77% of world oil reserves and provides 35–40% of world oil production? After seriously misjudging the oil market in 1997–98 and contributing to an oil price collapse, OPEC rallied in 1999–2000 and successfully pushed prices upward but overshot its target. In the first half of 2001 OPEC maintained high but more stable oil prices. Later in the year OPEC struggled to manage falling prices set off by a global recession made worse by the September 11 attacks and the war on terrorism. Has a revived OPEC entered a new phase as a more effective cartel?
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Unlike previous oil crises (1973, 1979, 1990) which were driven by political or military events, the oil price collapse of 1998 and the price shock of 2000 were caused by fundamental economic forces—an imbalance of supply and demand. After its initial misjudgments of the oil market in late 1997 and in 1998, and further weakened by its lack of discipline, OPEC did demonstrate in 1999 and 2000 that it has market power and the ability to turn the market around, first by cutting production in 1999, then by expanding production in 2000. However, it miscalculated again in 2000 as to the amount of additional supply that would be needed to hold prices at or under $30/barrel, and as a result prices soared above $30 for much of the year. This had damaging effects on the world economy and was not in OPEC’s long-term interest, as the organization itself recognized. In the first half of 2001 OPEC had greater success in managing the oil market and keeping prices within its announced price-band of $22 to $28 for the OPEC oil price basket. But a more severe challenge of world recession led to an oil price decline in the fall that OPEC could not control (see Fig. 6). Political factors that were important in enhancing OPEC discipline during this period include the election of the Chavez government in Venezuela (in late 1998), which adopted a much more pro-OPEC oil policy, and the establishment of a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement at the highest levels to maintain more stable oil prices and manage Iraq. Changes of government in Nigeria and Algeria have also apparently contributed to cooperation. OPEC itself has increased the frequency of its meetings to four or more each year, which puts it in a better position to fine-tune the market and react to changes in supply and demand. Saudi Arabia has become more proactive in leading OPEC decisions. The oil ministers in several countries are now technocrats, not political figures, which makes cooperation easier; for example, Ali al-Naimi in Saudi Arabia and Chakib Khelil in Algeria, who recently served as OPEC’s president. Cooperation by several non-OPEC countries, especially Mexico and Norway, was very important in assisting the market turn-around in 1999, but it is unclear how long this will continue. Mexico’s new president, Vicente Fox, appears to give priority to his relations with the United States which is also Mexico’s largest trading partner, and he does not want the US economy to be hurt by high oil prices. Norway has only sporadically cooperated with OPEC when it coincided with domestic interests. On the economic side, the pain unleashed by the oil price collapse of 1998 and early 1999 was clearly the driving force behind OPEC’s effort to regain control of the market and to raise oil prices. Underlying this drive has been the burden of past debt and the higher level of government expenditures required today in countries like Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s leading producer, which has raised the minimum acceptable oil price for the Saudis to above $21/barrel. Financial needs of most OPEC countries to provide state services and pay off past debts are even greater today, which explains why OPEC abandoned its previous market share strategy and adopted a revenue strategy in 1999 aimed at a price target high enough to meet the financial requirements of its members (Ait-Laoussine, 1999). OPEC has also been paying more attention to oil inventories which are critical elements of price determination. It tried to keep oil stocks at stable but low levels in 2001. Nevertheless, OPEC continues to have difficulty managing the world oil market and exercising its market power. It has essentially only one instrument-adjusting supply to meet seasonal demand changes for crude oil, changes in Iraqi exports, price movements, and economic conditions. Shifts in consumer demand are outside the scope of OPEC, and are compounded by the fact that demand side data are notoriously weak and delayed in measurement (often a lag of several months). The depreciation of currencies against the dollar often magnifies demand shifts, as do high fuel taxes on the consumer (for example, in Europe). The most significant demand-side issue may be, however, whether OPEC’s price target of $25/barrel is too high for a world in an economic slowdown, especially developing countries, in which case it will undermine the oil demand growth which OPEC badly needs. In 2000 and the first part of 2001 stocks of both crude oil and products continued to run lower than normal and should be replenished if full equilibrium is to be restored to the market. Yet this is unlikely to happen because OPEC’s strategy of keeping inventories low and prices high tends to keep the forward price curve in backwardation, which discourages refiners from building inventories. This can lead to problems and inadequate inventories to meet surges in demand for heating oil in the winter or gasoline during the summer, with consequent upward spikes in product prices that can lead to public opposition against governments (or OPEC) because of higher product prices. These problems are accentuated by shortages of refining capacity in the US, for example, and increasingly stringent gasoline specifications to meet air quality requirements which have in the past placed additional burdens on refiners. OPEC continues to point out that refining sector problems are outside of its control, but this may be only partially true (Petroleum Finance Company, 2001). Shifts in Iraqi oil exports continue to plague OPEC, as Iraq still operates completely outside of the organization. The situation posed again by the cutoff of Iraqi exports in June 2001 again illustrates the problem, which has occurred many times in the past few years. Spare capacity is another issue. In 2000, when OPEC was increasing production, only Saudi Arabia and one or two other Gulf countries had any spare capacity, which made it difficult to meet expanded production quotas at the end of the year. On the other hand, as countries began to add more capacity in 2001, this undermined OPEC cohesion by making it more difficult to reduce production in the future (see Table 1 and Table 2) (see also Smith, Vahidy & Fesharaki, 2001). OPEC discipline has been stronger since 1999 (see Fig. 8). But how long will this last, especially as the oil price collapse of 1998 recedes in time? Certainly some cheating at the margin of OPEC quotas has always taken place, and always will. Since OPEC has no enforcement mechanism, the challenge of OPEC cooperation is a continuing strategic game which resembles an iterated n-person prisoners dilemma (Claes, 2001). According to EIA, in recent years OPEC members have tended to overproduce by 300,000–1,000,000 barrels/day. Quota discipline has been best during periods of high demand for OPEC crude oil, such as end-2000, when quotas were set so high that they met or exceeded the production capacity of several OPEC members. However, OPEC’s three quota cuts in 2001 lowered OPEC’s production targets by a total of 3.5 million barrels/day, requiring a greater sacrifice in terms of reduced production and revenues. As a result, quota compliance was weaker. Energy Information Administration 2000 and 2001, Energy Information Administration 2001, Energy Information Administration 2001 and Energy Information Administration 2001 (see Table 1 and Table 2). Full-size image (39 K) Fig. 8. OPEC discipline 1999–2001. Figure options Finally, oil—like other commodity markets—will remain susceptible to price volatility despite (or sometimes because of) efforts by OPEC to control the market. The oil futures market, which includes speculators and hedge funds as well as commercial traders, and responds to all kinds of perceptions, can add to this price volatility. Whereas OPEC decisions frequently determine the general price direction in the market, the futures market can dramatically influence the pace and final values of a price move. The actions of technical traders and hedge funds can push oil prices beyond their fundamentally supportable levels (Emerson, 2000). This article has not addressed the debate as to whether OPEC is a true cartel, or whether it conforms more to the dominant producer or other economic models. (While these models can be suggestive, they also have their limits given the political nature of the organization.) However, a few closing comments are offered regarding patterns of OPEC decision-making during the period examined, and especially about the role of leading member, Saudi Arabia. In his recent detailed study of OPEC, Dag Harald Claes examines whether Saudi Arabia has acted as a hegemonic power within OPEC and identifies the following periods: Saudi Arabia as an “incapable hegemon” during 1973–81, when its leadership was repeatedly challenged by Iran and it lacked the capability to enforce a coercive strategy; the period 1982–85 of the “benevolent hegemon,” when the Saudis acted as a “swing producer” but lost revenues and market share as oil demand declined; the period 1986–96 of the “coercive hegemon,” when Saudi Arabia shifted its strategy and expanded output and market share; and the period beginning in 1999 characterized by a “mixed strategy,” when the Saudis followed both coercive and cooperative strategies (Claes, 2001). The actions analyzed here support Claes’ analysis regarding the most recent period. In 1998 and early 1999, the Saudis made clear that they would not accept new production cuts unless other members increased their compliance with existing agreements. In the extensive consultations leading up to the March 1999 OPEC agreement, Saudi Arabia joined with Mexico and Venezuela, and later Algeria and Iran, to forge a proposal to remove a large amount of oil from the market (about 2 million barrels/day) to raise prices. Simultaneous with this cooperative coalition-building approach, there is evidence from press stories that the Saudi oil minister designed the deal, persuaded others to accept, “and left the impression that the alternative of Riyadh simply opening its taps was no idle threat” (Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, March 22, 1999). In subsequent OPEC meetings, Saudi Arabia has usually sought to build a coalition behind its position, and has frequently had to bargain and accept some compromises on quota cuts or increases (a cooperative strategy). On one other occasion, end June and July 2000, when the Saudis announced a unilateral initiative to put an additional 500,000 barrels/day on the market because prices did not decline following the June OPEC decision, the Saudis met political resistance from other OPEC members and the Secretary General and had to attenuate their announced action. For political and security reasons, they did not wish to be isolated. All in all, a more cooperative strategy has prevailed. In conclusion, over the past three years OPEC has revived, its discipline has improved and it is acting more professionally and cooperatively in its effort to manage the world oil market. However, experience has shown that this is a very difficult market to manage, and OPEC still works with imperfect data and limited instruments. There are important aspects of the market over which it has little control. We are likely to continue to see oil price volatility in the years ahead.Ait-Laoussine 2000, Bahree and Herrick 2001, Banerjee 2001, BP Amoco Statistical Review of World Energy 2000 and 2001, Joffe 2000, OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 1999 and Verleger 2001