May 28

The International Energy Agency has ordered an inquiry into whether the world could run out of oil in four years’ time, it was reported yesterday.

The IEA has concerns about what might happen in 2012, when demand for oil, boosted by the rapid growth of the Chinese and Indian economies, is expected to have reached 95 million barrels a day. Global supply at that point is projected at only 96 million barrels a day. Such a thin margin would be vulnerable to any sudden supply crisis in volatile countries such as Nigeria, Venezuela or Iraq, now estimated to have overtaken Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil nation.

The IEA said its inquiries would form part of short and long-term forecasts to be published in July and again in November. Its energy research chief, Lawrence Eagles, said: “Up to now we have believed that supply can cope with demand. One caveat is that we don’t know for certain whether estimates of reserves in countries such as Saudi Arabia are entirely accurate.”

John Waterlow, analyst at oil research consultancy Wood Mackenzie, commented: “Many oil-producing countries are closed, secretive societies where it can be difficult to pinpoint the level of provable reserves.”

The IEA’s inquiry follows last week’s new record high for black gold at $135 a barrel, fuelling inflation and possible world recession. Continue reading »

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Mar 06

LONDON (AFP) – European equities dived on Monday after heavy falls earlier in Asia as markets were gripped by growing concern that the US economy was slipping into recession, dealers said.

Stock markets in Europe and the United States had sunk late last week following signs that the fallout from the US credit crisis was far from over.

In late morning European trade on Monday, Frankfurt, London and Paris stock markets chalked up fresh losses of about 1.5 percent.

Asian stocks plunged earlier Monday with Tokyo ending down almost 4.5 percent, Hong Kong tumbled 3.07 percent and Seoul gave up 2.3 percent. Singapore and Sydney both shed about 3.0 percent.

“Not a great start to the week with the UK following falls in the US Friday and Asia today,” said Mike Lenhoff, strategist at brokerage Brewin Dolphin.

“What matters most to investors is what is happening in the US. Investors view the US as in recession or going into recession which is not good news for corporate earnings and the market.”

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