How Arjun Murti Has Made Commodity Analysis A Fashionable Career To Pursue

Arjun N Murti is the most talked about analyst on the globe today. The Goldman Sachs analyst tracks oil, and has now made commodity analysis a sexy career to pursue in finance. Murthi’s recent claim to fame is that he has predicted oil will cross $200 per barrel very “soon”. The oil prices have already shot up to $135 a barrel.

Murthi, 39, is no pushover. In 2004, the New Jersey-born Indian had predcited that oil would cross $100 a barrel, a prediction which many of his detractors scoffed at then. The crude was then trading at a modest $40 a barrel. Murthi clearly had his finger on the oil pulse. As the crude breached the $100-mark in March the following year, many of his critics had to shut up.
Murthi, who evidently owns two hybrid cars, was even criticised for his predictions and detractors alleged that Goldman traders benefitted from his reports. This was denied by Henry Paulson Jr, the then CEO of Goldman Sachs and currently the Treasury Secretary in the Bush Administration.

Murthi, who added a new term, “super spike”, to the commodity analysis lexicon way back in 2004, is back in news again with his $200 prediction. His firm Goldman raised its estimate for average oil prices for the second half of 2008 to $141 a barrel from $107. The reason: tight inventories and geopolitical factors. He also sees that a decline in oil production from the non-OPEC countries. Murti said “oil markets may have entered the early stages of…a ’super spike’ period”, and $200 a barrel is a matter of time.

So what is the solution? Murthi offers none except that he cautions it’s high time the US focused on hybrid cars and nuclear energy. Anyways, for now, he is enjoying the limelight. (For more, see a New York Times profile of Murti).


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