After a very rapid increase, of the sort we’ve seen in the past year, there comes a point when consumers collectively decide to go on strike and stop spending. We are, I fear, perilously close to that tipping point. With advanced economies still struggling to emerge from the financial crisis, another oil price shock is just what we don’t need right. So now, everything depends on Saudi Arabia.
If it succumbs to the contagion, or fails to compensate for lost production in Libya by boosting its output, then we may have to wave the global recovery goodbye.