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Oil Price’s Decline Is ‘New Chapter in History’ of Energy

Low oil ripple effect

A dramatic fall in the price of oil in recent months shows no signs of ending, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which states that weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. oil production mean that a new chapter in the history of the oil markets is beginning which could affect the social stability of some countries. Prices have declined by around 30 percent since peaking in June, with Brent crude crashing below the $80 level in early November.

On Friday, the commodity was trading around a four-year low at $78 with speculators looking ahead to a meeting in Vienna later this month where the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could look to cut production in the wake of the price falls. The IEA says that there appears to be no "clear consensus" from the Gulf states for a formal supply cut and predicts further pressures for the price of oil in the next few months. The IEA admits that steep price declines tend to be self‐correcting over the long run but adds that a return to previous price highs may not be a close prospect. China has entered a less oil‐intensive stage of development and innovative new technologies in North America mean that there are "deep structural changes at work in the oil market," according to the IEA."It is increasingly clear that we have begun a new chapter in the history of the oil markets," it said. "Economic development no longer spurs oil demand growth as it once did, especially in the absence of wage gains."

IN-DEPTH

-- Matt Clinch, CNBC