Crude oil spot prices
The world’s growing thirst for oil is likely to create a disequilibrium between crude supply and demand, thus triggering price fluctuations at stock exchanges around the globe. Over the past decade, global oil consumption has risen from around 78.5 million barrels per day in 2002 to just under 90 million barrels per day in 2012.
Driven by the global economic growth, West Texas Intermediate crude reached annual average price levels near 100 U.S. dollars per barrel for the first time in 2008, when worldwide oil consumption exceeded production by over three million barrels daily. Although the difference can be accounted for by the production of biofuels and oil from coal or other unconventional sources, these figures show why adjustment measurements are required to balance supply and demand in the international crude oil market. Usually, prices are a key element to adjust supply and demand, but with current Brent spot prices trading above the 100 U.S. dollars per barrel mark, it remains debatable whether prices are able to adjust supply and demand in this case.