El impacto geopolítico del petróleo barato

CAMBRIDGE – En los últimos cinco meses el precio del petróleo ha caído más de un 25 por ciento, por lo que el barril se cotiza por debajo de los 80 dólares. Si los precios se mantienen en estos niveles, muchos países en todo el mundo acusarán importantes repercusiones, algunas positivas, otras negativas. Si la caída se acentúa, como parece probable, las consecuencias geopolíticas en algunos países productores de petróleo podrían ser graves.

El precio del petróleo depende en todo momento de las expectativas que los participantes en el mercado abrigan acerca de la evolución de la oferta y la demanda.  El papel de las expectativas hace que  el mercado del petróleo sea muy distinto de la mayoría de los demás mercados. En el mercado de las verduras frescas, por ejemplo, los precios deben tener en cuenta  la oferta y la demanda en función de las cosechas en curso. Por el contrario, los productores de petróleo y otros operadores de la industria petrolera pueden decidir desabastecer el mercado si prevén un alza de los precios del crudo, o bien incrementar el suministro si pronostican una caída.

Las compañías petroleras de todo el mundo mantienen las reservas fuera del mercado reduciendo la cantidad de petróleo extraído, y los productores de petróleo pueden igualmente recortar el suministro reteniendo los inventarios  en buques petroleros en el mar u otras instalaciones de almacenamiento. Inversamente, los productores pueden incrementar el suministro de petróleo en el mercado aumentando la producción o disminuyendo los inventarios.

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