the Price War Is Here

Saudi Arabia's oil-production binge may cost its competitors dearly

When petroleum prices were doubling and redoubling during the 1970s, oil buyers wondered whether the increases would ever hit a ceiling. Last week the problem was reversed: as global prices continued to plummet, traders despaired about the lack of a firm floor. "The market is in a careening tailspin," said one Manhattan oil-futures analyst. Warned another: "Put on your hard hat. The sky is falling." The price for next month's delivery of West Texas Intermediate, a major U.S. crude, plunged $3.39 on Monday and Tuesday to $15.44 per bbl., its lowest point since 1979 and a nearly 50% decline from just...

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