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The new gold

DOES THE present phase of oil-price inflation constitute a bubble? If it is one, then it probably won't burst in the immediate future. Oil, for now, looks reasonably well supported at $100 a barrel. There are more reasons for rises than for a fall: the market has had months to contemplate weaker demand stemming from a slow-down in the overall US economy and, yet, oil prices are still above $100/b. This suggests that unless there is a significant change for the worse in the state of the world economy – with weakness in the US spreading to Europe and China, for example – prices are more likely to depend on other factors. There is not much bearish news on the supply side, with non-Opec oil-sup

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