This article was published in EurOil, 1 May 2012.

April is the cruelest month, a poet once wrote, and so it seems in the political economy of oil. Just a fortnight after the International Energy Agency claimed the global oil market had finally turned for the better, last week Britain slid into its long-feared double dip recession. It has been the worst four years for the UK economy in at least a century, and it hasn’t been much fun in Europe or the US either. It is no coincidence this grim era opened with a violent spike to $147 per barrel, and continues to labour under historically high oil prices.

But perhaps relief is at hand. In the latest edition of its monthly Oil Market Report (OMR), the IEA notes that in the first three months of the year global oil production outstripped demand for the first time since 2009, industry stocks are recovering, and “…the earlier tide of remorseless market tightening looks to have turned”. So could April showers open onto the sunny uplands of lower crude prices and robust recovery in the advanced economies?

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