The price of crude oil has fallen dramatically in recent weeks, prompting speculation that the global economy may be on the verge of a new crisis.
But as global markets continue to tighten, many experts say oil producers are still well positioned to absorb a downturn.
The International Energy Agency predicts that crude oil prices will continue to fall as the world economy slows and the oil price wars continue.
“There is a reasonable likelihood that the US and other developed countries will be able to maintain stable economic growth,” said Stephen Koo, an energy analyst with Macquarie Capital.
While oil prices have dipped, some of the world’s top producers have shown some resilience.
Brent crude oil, the most expensive commodity on the global market, fell nearly 9% in August to $49.84 a barrel, according to Bloomberg data.
That’s still a relatively low price, but it is also the lowest it has been in five years.
And while the drop in oil prices has been the biggest drag on world economic growth, other sectors have suffered as well.
Canada’s oil sands, for example, have been hit hard by the drop.
The United States, which relies heavily on oil from Alberta and has seen its crude output drop by a third since 2013, has seen oil prices fall from $80 a barrel to $60 a barrel.
The industry is bracing for a slump, but analysts say it will likely take a while to recover.
And despite the declines in the oil prices, many investors continue to buy oil and commodities, including copper, nickel and oil from Russia.
“The markets are not fully recovered from the price drop, so we are still seeing a lot of activity,” said Brian Klaas, chief executive of asset manager Capital Alpha.
Even so, some experts say the downturn could still leave the world on the edge of another crisis.
In the next few weeks, oil and metals prices will likely spike.
For investors, the uncertainty over the coming weeks will likely lead to higher volatility, said David Leitch, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets.
“We’re at risk of a huge spike in the price of gold, which will probably make the market less predictable,” he said.
“A lot of markets are already feeling it.”
The oil price downturn has also impacted Canadian producers.
Oil prices have plummeted from a peak of $105 a barrel in September 2014 to less than $30 a barrel now.
The U.S. has been experiencing its own price drop in the last year, from about $100 a barrel just before the financial crisis to about $50 a barrel today.
Investors are betting that OPEC’s production cuts and oil-price declines will not be enough to prevent a major global recession.
But some experts caution that oil prices may actually have been underperforming over the past few years.
Some have pointed to a drop in U.K. crude oil output that occurred in 2011 as proof that oil demand is on the rise, but the drop has been reversed.
The U.N. is warning of a “slow but significant decline” in oil production from 2015, but some analysts have argued that is too early to say.
With oil prices at historic lows, it’s not clear when the next crisis will hit, said Paul McEntee, chief investment officer at PNC Financial Services.
A sharp drop in prices will not necessarily trigger a collapse of the oil sector.
But if the price drops too far, it could put pressure on the rest of the economy, he said, adding that it is important to remember that the oil industry is only as resilient as the markets it serves.
Meanwhile, other analysts have cautioned that if the downturn in oil continues, it will also have a long-term impact on the U.A.E., which depends on exports from the United States.