Crude oil prices are approaching $100 again, a level where the commodity has not traded since the autumn. Blame a better economy in China and political problems in the Middle East, although those explanations are childishly simple. WTI crude trades just below $96. Oil prices certainly could hurt the U.S. economy, but because of its delicate state, Europe is more vulnerable.
According to Bloomberg:
Oil prices are acting as a brake on the global economy, and harming Europe in particular, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said at a conference in London today.
Europe will need to spend 500 billion euros ($668 billion) on oil imports this year, about 200 billion euros more than average levels, if oil prices remain near current levels, the IEA's Fatih Birol, said in London at the start of International Petroleum Week.
"Prices are very high," he said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The "current level of oil prices is a major impact on the global economy, but especially for Europe."
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