I covered this one off myself at http://www.aplaceintheauvergne.blogspot.com/, this Friday last, although in the rather unusual style of that blog.
However, here's a more 'on the nose' posting about this, pointing out discrepancies between the NYT and its global edition.
Here's what 'Moon of Alabama' had to say:
NYT Changes Reasoning For Recent Oil Rise: Friday June 7th 2008
Oil prices had their biggest gains ever on Friday, jumping nearly $11 to a new record above $138 a barrel, after a senior Israeli politician raised the specter of an attack on Iran and the dollar fell sharply against the euro.
Reasons given for the oil rise: A. Israel, B. Dollar
The above is how Laura Rozen and dozens of other people quote the first graph of a story in today's New York Times.
But when I read the piece under the same URL a bit later the sequence of the NYT's explanation for the rise of oil prices had changed.
The rise in oil prices turned into a stampede on Friday with futures jumping a staggering $11 a barrel to set a record above $138 a barrel. The unprecedented surge came as the dollar fell sharply against the euro and a senior Israeli politician once again raised the possibility of an attack against Iran.
Reasons now given for the oil rise: A. Dollar, B. Israel
It is not only the opening paragraph that changed.
The complete earlier version of the piece is still carried by the International Herald Tribune. It expands on the threat from Israel in the sixth paragraph and on the dollar fall in the ninth.
The later 'corrected' version at the NYT site expands on the dollar in the fifth paragraph and on a possible Israeli attack on Iran in the eighth.
Which version is factual more correct in its emphasis?
Yesterday the US dollar index fell by 0.93% from 73.066 to 72.390. Crude futures for August delivery went up by 7.8% from 128.13 to 138.16.
Is a less than 1% change in the U.S. dollar the prime explaining factor for a 7.8% rise in crude oil?
Or is a threat of another war on the second biggest OPEC producer by Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz the more important reason for the oil rise?
"If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," said Mr Mofaz, referring to pressure by the United Nations security council to end Iran's disputed programme of uranium enrichment. "Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable."
The answer seems obvious to me. The market freaked because of the war drums, not because of a slight dollar move.
So why did the NYT editor change the piece and preferred to cite the dollar fall as the primary explanation?