'The leading Goldman Sachs oil analyst, who had been one of the market's biggest bulls this year, predicting that crude could hit $200 a barrel, has slashed his 2009 forecast to $45, blaming “incredibly weak demand” as the global economy plunges into recession.

Arjun Murti, the New York energy analyst for the US investment bank, came to prominence in 2005, when he was among the first to predict accurately a “superspike” in prices to more than $100 a barrel. For each of the successive three years, his forecasts were consistently higher - and usually closer to the mark - than those of most of his peers.'

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Experts ... I have been somewhat of an expert too, although in another industry branch altogether, and I have known the best "experts" in my sector. So I have some experience in the field of forecasts and predictions.

No single expert can predict the future. If that were possible, experts wouldn't be working for a bank or an instititution, but raking in fortune upon fortune based on their uncanny gifts. I do not know very many rich experts ...

The oil expert in the forementioned text most certainly has a comprehensive knowledge of his sector, knows the ins and outs of production, commercialisation and all other aspects of the oil industry. But in plain english he has simply been luckier than others with his price forecasts in 2005 and his luck has changed in 2008.

You can know your sector in every significant and insignificant detail, but you can not know the future. Forecasts are educated guesses, nothing more. As one of my favorites sang in the late fifties : "Que sera sera ... the future's not ours to see".

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