Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 7:07 a.m. EDT on Real Money on June 10. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money.
NEW YORK ( Real Money) -- Here we go with the commodities and China again. You come in every morning, morning after morning, and you read about how zinc and iron ore and copper and lead are down 1.2% because of weak China data. You think to yourself, "How hard will oil be hit today? How low will it go?"
Of course, though, you see that Brent crude is higher. While all of these other industrial commodities fall and fall some more on whatever data come out of China, Brent just either stays the same or goes higher.
That's because, as my friend Joe Terranova tweets, oil is controlled by Middle East producers, and the price just will not respond to the real markets.The spare capacity is all still in the Middle East, and we all have to pay the Middle Eastern piper. We all know that we've seen remarkable advances in rediscovering oil in the U.S. We are producing about 8 million barrels a day, and are importing about 7.5 million barrels now. That 8-million-barrels figure is an incredible comeback to mid-1990s levels, and an increase of about 3 millions barrels a day in a very short time, courtesy the Bakken, the Eagle Ford the Permian and some lesser fields. That's on top of a doubling in Iraq oil production, from 1.6 million to 3.2 million barrels a day. Further, despite the fact that China's commodity use has declined across the board, Brent still trades at a ridiculously inflated price. The rest of the world is either helpless to do something about this, or it actually wants higher prices in order to make expensive renewables more economic. Right now there is only one country on Earth that can do anything about this Middle Eastern price fixing: the U.S. If we had the political will, we could harness our competitive advantage that is natural gas and actually make an energy market in North America that is separate from OPEC. We could make oil into another commodity that's not unlike the pathetic commodities of iron, steel, copper, nickel and lead. We could actually impact price if we felt it were something worth doing. We could simply institute a policy in Washington that says it would be good value judgment to lower the price of fossil fuels, even if it does, for now, make alternative energy less economic.