The price of oil will fall in the next few months as fears over Iran fade, says Jim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist who a decade ago invented the term "Bric" economies - for Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Mr O'Neill was in the Gulf last week and took the opportunity to assess the long-term state of the oil market, which has been inflated on worries of a clash over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"I returned from my trip thinking, as I did before, that an early attack on Iran doesn't make sense for anyone, Israel included, and therefore between now and the summer, whatever premium is in the market because of this issue, it is quite feasible it will decline or be removed," he told The National.
He said five-year indicators for oil supply and demand indicated a price between US$80 and $100 a barrel.
"This raised in my mind that all the premium above this was due to other market forces, perhaps in addition to the Iran uncertainty, and some consequences of expectations of a third round of quantitative easing [QE] in the US."
The price of Brent crude last week touched $127 per barrel, near a three-year high, on worries of the economic consequences of a further deterioration of relations between the US and Iran.
Tightening US sanctions have led Tehran to threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, the main waterway for Gulf oil exports.
"In addition to my thinking it doesn't make sense to attack Iran, I also suspect the Fed is backing away from QE3, and this adds up to my caution the oil price will stay up there."
If oil were to fall to $80, it could cause worries for Gulf states that have budgeted high levels of public spending on the $100-plus prices that have been the norm for the past year.
Mr O'Neill, who is the global chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said he had not detected any big inflows of capital to the GCC region from global investors, despite the recent surge in equity markets.