Oil Prices: What the Futures Market Sees

It may be a better indicator of upcoming prices, says a government study. The verdict now? Petroleum is headed higher

Just when you thought oil prices were getting under control, they've shot back up, closing on Feb. 1 at more than $57 a barrel after briefly dropping below $50 just two weeks earlier. Now, more bad news. A study by four government economists says more attention should be paid to a long-standing but little-heeded indicator of where oil prices are headed—namely, the futures market. And that indicator—imperfect as it is—says prices are likely to rise a little past $60 a barrel and then stay in that range for years to come.

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