Energy: Despite cuts in oil output and threats of even more, the OPEC cartel can only watch in disappointment as prices for crude defy their efforts to raise them. Credit fracking for the cartel's loss of power over the world market.
These are desperate times for OPEC. On Thursday, oil prices plunged nearly 5% when it became apparent OPEC wouldn't cut output further, which would have put a serious dent in members' finances. Instead, the cartel will extend current cuts for nine more months.
In essence, they're declaring victory and going home.
Just three and a half years ago, the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude peaked at $110.62 a barrel. At the time, President Obama was pushing Americans to conserve and warning, "we can't drill our way out of the problem."
Turns out, we could. Today, oil prices are struggling to rise above $50 a barrel, thanks in large part to vast new supplies of crude on the market from American frackers. They've used technology to dramatically slash costs, so OPEC can no longer control the global market price.
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