As uprisings rocked the Arab world in the first quarter of 2011, Joseph Quinlan, managing director and chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, a unit of Bank of America, spoke with writer Jaime Pessin about how the volatile political situation in the Middle East could affect the global economy.
1. How will the turmoil in the Middle East affect oil prices in the near future? Oil is a political commodity that's concentrated in the developing countries. There's a lot of underlying demand coming out of the emerging markets, as they drive more cars, work in air-conditioned offices and eat more protein. The volatility around the supply will always push prices higher. Even before (the uprisings) in the Middle East, we were looking for oil to be about $100 per barrel this year-that was the low end of our estimate-just because of the underlying demand.
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