Oil Traders Misread Tweet, Make Oil Prices Shoot Up

from the read-slower dept

There have been plenty of complaints about people who jump to conclusions too quickly online, but apparently at times that can actually have a material impact on things. Earlier today, the Israeli Defense Forces (who have been quite active on Twitter) put out a tweet commemorating the famed Yom Kippur war of 1973, in which Israel bombed Syria:
The tweet may have been somewhat ill-timed, and poorly thought-out, given the current "heightened tensions" with Syria. Either way, apparently some oil traders either skipped over or didn't understand the hashtag reference to "YomKippur73" (and the reference to the Soviet Union -- a country that hasn't existed in decades) and interpreted the tweet to mean that Israel was bombing Syria today. And, in response they started bidding up the price of oil. Because twitchy commodities dealers apparently do their pricing based on tweets.

Of course, the article notes that traders eventually realized their mistake... but the price of oil stayed up, rising over a dollar from $110.40 a barrel to $111.50 a barrel, and then continuing to rise a bit (though more slowly) after the mistake was understood. Isn't it great that key pieces of the global economy can change based on some people totally misreading a tweet? Makes me feel so comfortable about the state of the world today.

Filed Under: israel, misreading, oil prices, reading comprehension, syria, twitter

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2013 @ 5:26pm

    I've said it for years: we have not lived in a free market system since the 30's. Every bag of wind howling and heaving about "duh free market!" and "muh capitalism!" is a useful idiot at best and a politician at worst.

    It is like this with every commodity. The prices aren't even mathematically soluble to give the greatest profit. They're merely fabrications that are made "within reason" to trick people into thinking some form of global trade system is at work and not a collection of ultra-influential traders pulling numbers from a hat that become the price of goods and services that we need to function as a society. If they reflected their actual values, the cost of living almost everywhere would plummet.

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