By Sumit Roy
Oil prices have been unusually well-behaved.
Last year was the least-volatile year for crude oil prices in more than a decade, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. The EIA calculates that historical 30-day volatility for Brent has been running at or below 20 percent annualized since 2013, whereas it was consistently above that level between 2006 and 2013.
Wrote the Energy Information Administration:
"Price volatility in 2013 was at its lowest level over the 2006-13 period, as many of the factors that had been driving instability in oil prices were mitigated.
Despite Libyan outages similar to those in 2011, Saudi Arabia maintained its production to smooth out the effects. Rising U.S. oil production also helped offset some of the losses of oil on world markets, resulting in supply being more in line with market expectations. The economic recovery became more evident as the European debt crisis waned and U.S. unemployment fell."
The EIA also noted that the range that oil prices fluctuated in during 2013 was the narrowest since 2006:
"The minimum closing price for 2013 was $97.69 per barrel (bbl) on April 17, and the maximum closing price was $118.90/bbl on February 8, representing a trading range of $21.21 for the year."