It is good to be the king, isn't it? Or at least a friend of a friend of the king.
Forbes.com: Saudis pledged oil price cut before US vote-report (Forbes/Reuters, 04.18.04, 4:33 PM ET)
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, promised President Bush the Saudis would cut oil prices before November to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day, journalist Bob Woodward said in a television interview Sunday. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" about his new book "Plan of Attack" on the Bush administration's preparations for the Iraq war, Woodward, a senior editor at the Washington Post, said Prince Bandar pledged the Saudi's would try to fine-tune oil prices to prime the U.S. economy for the election -- a move they understood would favor Bush's re-election. [...] Earlier this month Bandar reassured Bush that the kingdom would not allow oil shortages to hurt world economic growth after Saudi Arabia led a push by OPEC to cut output by 1 million barrels a day from April. "Saudi Arabia's policy is consistent. Number one: we will not allow any shortages in the market," Bandar told reporters on April 1 after delivering his message to Bush from Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah.
Of course, this assumes a few things: (1) OPEC wants Our Glorious Leader to continue in office and will therefore follow the Saudis' lead; (2) if not, that Saudi Arabia will unilaterally increase oil production a truly impressive amount in order to drive prices down on their own; (3) that OPEC's current cut will hold together long enough that prices don't go down too far ahead of the election -- traditionally speaking, someone always decides to increase production just a touch to try to take advantage of the high prices, and then someone else notices and increases their production, and then everyone has increased production and prices drop, because OPEC is only a strong cartel ... well, it's almost never a strong cartel, in the strong-arm sense, now is it?Posted by iain at April 20, 2004 12:47 PM