OIL: The Pinch at the Pump Begins

Like a great natural disaster, the oil drought caused by the Arabs' cutback on production spread ominously through the industrial nations last week. Despite glaring signals of severe shortages ahead, leading consumer countries from Germany to Japan were in disarray. They often worked at cross purposes as each scrambled to get energy supplies only for itself—at almost any cost. Meanwhile oil-producing countries outside the Middle East happily pushed up prices.

On top of Venezuela's 56% boost in its posted prices and Nigeria's announcement that it will almost double its prices, Indonesia announced a 20% rise, to about $6 a bbl. These...

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