This is an extended version of an article that appears in Belfast Telegraph Business Month (February Edition) published 2nd February 2015.
Arguably the biggest surprise of 2014 was the collapse in the oil price. Few economists if any predicted the price of a barrel of Brent crude to fall by almost 60% in just 7 months. Having peaked at $115pb last June, the European oil price benchmark hit $45pb last month. This represented the lowest level since March 2009 which coincided with the depths of the global recession. Since then, the oil price has largely fluctuated between $48-50pb. However, since last Thursday the oil price has jumped by almost 12% from $49pb to almost $55pb.