Oil vs the US Dollar. What is the real issue?

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Currently, the price of oil is a major concern for far more people than commodity traders who are used to tracking the price of the world's most valuable and widely used consumable commodity.

The price of oil is now on the minds of most members of society in Europe and North America, as the cost of household energy and fuel for methods of motorised transport continues to soar.

In the United Kingdom, the price of fuel has reached a record £8 per gallon (£1.80 per liter) and the increase has shown no sign of slowing down with the cost of living being one of the most discussed matters that is even reaching parliament.

The last time oil rose to these values was in 2008 at the beginning of the global banking crisis and American and European credit crunch, when Brent Crude rose to $147 per barrel, but the cost of energy resources or fuel for vehicles at consumer level was not as high as it is today.

Perhaps the most interesting point with regard to the commodities market of today is that the parameters are very different with regard to the currencies that back it and that are used to pay for the settlement and delivery of energy derivatives and consumable commodities such as oil and gas.

Back in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, the oil price was higher than it is today, with today's value being $121 per barrel, however the price at the consumer end was lower and the currency market which backed and settled commodities was a in a very different place to where it is today.

The US Dollar had been unquestionably the de facto currency which backed the oil prices at the time of the previous high cost of oil, and the currency markets, especially those with major currencies as their legal tender, benefited from the supply and demand of oil, however today the US Dollar is relatively strong as well as oil prices being high.

Usually, a strong dollar means weaker oil prices, but these days the correlation between the US Dollar and oil is less important especially as oil from Russian energy companies now has to be paid for in rubles via banks in Moscow, which has attached the Ruble to the commodities market and given the US Dollar a lower standing as a 'petro-dollar'.

Therefore, a strong US Dollar and high oil prices means the cost of import for those settling in US Dollars - ie Western nations - is very high indeed and has had to be passed onto the consumer.

By contrast, back in 2008, the US Dollar decreased in value to a record low against the currencies of the US’s major trading partners, easing some of the pain of the high cost of oil at the time. For many importing nations back in 2008, oil became expensive, but not exorbitantly costly in local currency.

Today, those settling in US Dollars have to pay the high price of the dollar and the high price of oil.

We live in a very different world to even two years ago, let alone fourteen years ago, and the dynamics associated with commodity price increases are now completely different to how they have been historically, which is why this is a market worth observing and examining closely.

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