The geopolitical ramifications are, of course, the vastly more important ones, but the world economy shifted slightly last night as word of Osama Bin Laden’s death hit the airwaves. If the markets are accurate, we’re looking at world where there is less unrest in the Middle East, and, generally, less of a chance of everything coming completely apart at the seams.
Oil futures and the price of crude dropped last night as the news broke. Oil has been trending upward aggressively over the last three months because of unrest across the Middle East, but the markets are thinking that Bin Laden’s death will keep it from getting worse. This is at odds with the fact that the Arab Spring is not based on Al Qaeda actions at all. And yet, the idea that some future Al Qaeda action could suddenly disrupt supply or start another war has to be priced into the cost of crude. Will an unintended consequence of Bin Laden’s death be lower gas prices?
Perhaps more interesting is seeing the price of both gold and silver plunge. Sorry, Glenn Beck! Gold dropped to $1,540 an ounce after hitting a record high at $1,575.79, and silver fell a full 10%. Buying gold and silver is the province of crazy survivalists who think that having raw materials will be important after society collapses. (It’s then also the province of people wanting to make a lot of money on crazy survivalists’ fears.) In either case, while we question whether or not the world was made safer by Bin Laden’s death, we can at least know that the gold and silver buyers–the people most afraid of something truly horrible happening to the planet–seem to think that it was.