pumpjack oil drilling site Mint Images/ZumaPress

Billiges Öl und globales Wachstum

LONDON – Heftige Ausschläge des Ölpreises destabilisieren Volkswirtschaften und Finanzmärkte auf aller Welt. Der Grund für die Halbierung des Ölpreises im vergangenen Jahr, von 110 US-Dollar auf 55 US-Dollar pro Barrel, war offensichtlich: Saudi-Arabien hatte entschieden, seinen Anteil am globalen Erdölmarkt durch eine Ausweitung der Fördermenge zu erhöhen. Aber aus welchem Grund ist der Ölpreis in den letzten Wochen noch weiter gesunken – auf Tiefstände wie zuletzt unmittelbar nach der globalen Finanzkrise 2008 – und welche Auswirkungen wird diese Entwicklung auf die Weltwirtschaft haben?

Die gängige Erklärung ist die schwache chinesische Nachfrage, wobei der Einbruch des Ölpreises weithin als Vorbote einer Rezession betrachtet wird, entweder in China oder der gesamten Weltwirtschaft. Aber das ist mit ziemlicher Sicherheit falsch, auch wenn es durch die enge Korrelation zwischen Öl- und Aktienmärkten scheinbar bestätigt wird, die nicht nur in China, sondern auch in Europa und den meisten Schwellenländern so tief gefallen sind wie zuletzt 2009.

Es ist tatsächlich beeindruckend, welche Bedeutung Ölpreise für Prognosen haben, allerdings nur als Kontraindikator: Fallende Ölpreise haben nie eine korrekte Voraussage eines Wirtschaftsabschwungs geliefert. In allen noch nicht lange zurückliegenden Fällen, in denen sich der Ölpreis halbierte – 1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1992-1993, 1997-1998 und 2001-2002 – folgte anschließend schnelleres globales Wachstum.

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