El precio del petróleo en 2015

LONDRES – Avanzado el año 1979 empecé a realizar mi tesis doctoral, se trataba de una investigación empírica sobre los excedentes y colocación de la producción de la OPEC. Era el final de una década en la que los precios habían tenido dos aumentos espectaculares, y gran parte de los genios de la época estaban seguros de que continuarían disparándose, de 40 dólares el barril –máximo histórico de aquel entonces– hasta superar los 100 dólares. Para cuando concluí mi investigación en 1982, el precio del petróleo había iniciado, lo que se conoció como la caída que ha durado veinte años. Fue hasta enero de 2008 cuando el precio del barril llegó a los 100 dólares.

Yo solía afirmar en broma que lo más importante de mi investigación no era de ninguna manera pronosticar el precio del petróleo. A medida que 2014 termina, el precio del petróleo vuelve a cruzar la barrera de los 100 dólares otra vez –pero esta vez a la baja. Una de las preguntas más importantes para 2015 es si la disminución continuará. A pesar de mi cinismo previo, creo que sé la respuesta.

A lo largo de los últimos treinta y tres años he tenido el tiempo de estudiar los precios del petróleo y los tipos de cambio, e incluye supervisar un departamento de investigación compuesto por personas talentosas, para pronosticar el movimiento de dichos precios. Esta experiencia me ha dejado una buena dosis de escepticismo y algunas cicatrices. Sin embargo, sí creo que es posible hacer un pronóstico general sobre la dirección de los precios del petróleo.

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