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David Fickling

Oil's 1980s Redux

The last time the kingdom flooded the oil market, it was followed by a U.S. stock market crash and the Soviet Union's collapse.

If there's a certain retro feeling in the air, it's not just because everyone's talking about a Donald Trump presidential run and a song called "Me Myself & I" is in the charts. Oil markets are also starting to have a distinctly 1986 feel to them.

The collapse of the weekend's oil talks in Doha heralds a phase where open spigots will drive prices lower once again. Brent crude fell as much as 7 percent when it opened after the meeting broke up in disarray. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers refused to cut production unless they could get a matching agreement from an Iran that hadn't even bothered to attend the talks.