Unstable Middle East and 'Thirsty' Asia Drive Oil Prices Up

China and India are two of the world's fastest-growing economies, accounting for almost half of the world's 2.5 million barrel increase in daily oil consumption.

Published: 26-Aug-2004

Political instability in key oil-producing countries and surging demand in Asia have driven crude oil prices up nearly 40 percent this summer. Some market watchers believe this is a temporary phenomenon.

World oil prices have soared to nearly $50 a barrel due to unstable supplies from the Middle East and rising demand in Asia.

Michael Rothman, an energy market analyst with the global investment firm, Merrill Lynch, told reporters at a news briefing that the upward trend in oil prices began about 18 months ago, when crude oil inventories fell 200 million barrels below normal.

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