The world risks a full-blown oil shock within months as three geostrategic crises come to the boil and Saudi Arabia hints at US$100 ($140) crude, setting off a speculative scramble by commodity hedge funds.
Brent crude has surged this week to a 40-month high of almost US$75 a barrel even though the global economy is losing momentum. This price spike is different from earlier China-driven episodes over the past 15 years. It reflects a constriction of supply and a rising "political premium". Such a context makes it more threatening.