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
    vastrightwing, 11 Oct 2013 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: sORRY

    Commodities or futures contracts should be there for the producer to be guaranteed a market. You should not be allowed to sell the contracts once you've bought them. Once you agree to buy a future contract, you should be obligated to take delivery of the goods.

    There is no society benefit to trading the contracts. All it does is cause the price to go up. There is no value to anyone there, other than the traders who manage to skim price differentiation.

    I'm sure GS can give us a nice rationalization of how this practice gives the market liquidity or some other nonsense (AKA front running... sorry, I meant high frequency trading).

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