- The “OPEC+” group has managed to put a floor under oil prices
- It is still a long way from achieving the price and inventory levels it wants
- The alliance benefits Saudi Arabia and Russia, its two main architects
- There is little risk of the group breaking up before the end of next year
Around the world, experts continue to debate the stability of oil markets. Stability, however, means different things to different people. Lately there seem to be two popular definitions. First, economists talk about balanced, stable markets when supply and demand are in equilibrium or, more generally speaking, when supply and demand grow at the same rate. Such a situation can easily be recognized by the absence of sudden, violent price changes and by the presence of stable inventories. In that sense, between 2011 and 2014, the oil market was stable. Then, the market was thrown into instability by shale oil from the United States and needed readjustment, or “rebalancing,” to use the popular phrase. Economists, of course, would simply assume that the markets could take care of this themselves, without outside help.