Study links oil prices to speculation

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An independent study of oil markets concludes that speculation by large investors was a primary reason for the surge in oil prices during the first half of the year and for the more recent price declines.

It said investors poured $60 billion into oil futures markets during the first six months of the year as oil prices soared from $95 to $145 a barrel and since then have withdrawn $39 billion from those same markets as prices have retreated.

Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, which did the study, said the flow of money -- not major changes in supply and demand -- caused the volatile movement of oil prices. The report was released Wednesday by Senate and House sponsors of bills to put additional curbs on oil market speculation.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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