China: oil speculators cash in on Mideast fears

Fu Chengyu pessimistic over oil price prospects in the short term

LOS ANGELES - Oil market speculators are cashing in on unrest in the Middle East, which is driving prices higher even though crude supplies are unlikely to be cut, a senior Chinese oil executive said Tuesday.
Fu Chengyu, head of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, added that there was little prospect of surging crude prices coming down in the short term.
"It's a really a big concern to the world," he said of the unrest which has gripped the Middle East, starting in Tunisia and Egypt and spreading to Libya and beyond, in recent weeks and months.
"This will be good opportunity .. to the speculators on the term market," he added, speaking to reporters during a visit to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he studied for a master's degree.
"Turbulence in Middle East will not certainly cut much the supply to the market, but the price will be heavily impacted by this just because the speculators," he said.
Noting that crude prices had surged well before the recent Mideast unrest, Fu added: "For the short term nobody can expect that oil price will be lower," notably because of the huge demand from industrializing countries.