Jak vyprášit ropné magnáty

WASHINGTON, DC – Za posledních osmnáct měsíců se ceny ropy víc než zdvojnásobily, takže globální ekonomiku zatížily obrovskými výdaji. Část cenového vzestupu nesporně podnítila mohutná globální poptávka, vyvolaná rozvíjejícími se ekonomikami, jako je Čína. Velikost cenového skoku ale běžné faktory nabídky a poptávky převyšuje a poukazuje tak na úlohu spekulací – a zdůrazňuje potřebu politického zásahu, který by trh s ropou pročistil.

Většina ekonomů se opírá o důvěru v trhy, a tak odmítají myšlenku, že za zvýšení ceny je zodpovědná spekulace. Kdyby spekulace skutečně byla jedinou příčinou, argumentují, mělo by docházet k nárůstu ropných zásob, protože vyšší ceny by snížily spotřebu, čímž by spekulanty donutily ropu hromadit. Skutečnost, že zásob nepřibývá, ropné spekulanty prý zprošťuje obvinění.

Situace je ale mnohem komplikovanější, protože citlivost na cenu je u poptávky po ropě mimořádně slabá. Krátkodobě je technicky obtížné spotřebu upravit. Tak například palivová účinnost všech osobních i nákladních automobilů je neměnná a většina cest není na volném uvážení spotřebitele. Třebaže vyšší ceny letenek mohou omezit jejich prodej, letecké společnosti sníží spotřebu ropy, jedině pokud ruší lety.

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