Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Settling A Five-Year-Old Bet

I only like to bet when I believe the odds are in my favour. Since I believe commodity prices to be rather unpredictable, I tend not to bet on anything commodity-price related. I made an exception five years ago.

If you've been reading this blog for that long, you may have read this article, which spurred a debate between myself and a friend, who also happened to own and write for the site altenergystocks.com (he has since sold it). Oil prices were exceptionally high at the time, and so I thought the high price would lead to demand destruction and/or supply increases. He believed oil was only becoming more expensive to find/produce, and that demand growth from emerging markets would ensure supply couldn't run away from demand.

It seems both of our arguments turned out to be correct, but as it turned out, I won by a hair. When the recession hit, it looked like I would win by a landslide, but ever since, the price of oil has been creeping back up. I'm glad the bet is over, because with a few more days/weeks/months of issues with Syria, he might have ended up winning this thing.

Even though I won, as a result of this bet I'm even less likely to want to bet on things commodity-related without a large margin of safety, which I did not have when making this bet. The price of oil fluctuated between some $35/barrel and $120/barrel over the last few years, having been affected by wars, efficiency gains, recessions, fracking, government regulations, quotas, draining of conventional supplies, alternative energy, substitution, environmental issues, and a slew of other factors. To be able to mesh all of these together and predict a future price sounds like a very difficult proposition, and it has proven to be; you won't find anybody who can do it well enough that 1) it's all they do, and 2) they've gotten rich doing it.

1 comment:

Gabay said...

what about iron ore, dont you think china bubble will burst and take it back to more sane price level?