The oil price's plummet past the $60 a barrel mark has come as a welcome year-end reprieve for strained South African consumers. But it won't be long before the price starts rising again. Oil prices took the world on a wild ride in 2018 and in October reached its highest level in four years. Analysts and traders predicted the price could reach $100 by the end of the year. Oil cartel Opec expressed no intention of increasing production, which would have alleviated the price pressure. Instead, it wanted to continue to see oil inventories whittled down. The resulting increased petrol prices fuelled violent protests in countries such as India and France. In SA, the government stepped in for the first time since democracy to absorb a fuel hike. But then shale oil producers from the US came into play. The price per oil barrel suddenly plunged to less than $60. Even a production cut of a further 1.2-million barrels a day by Opec has done little to push prices back up. Inventories continue ...

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