The oil market is huge, but almost all of it is governed by negotiated term contract prices rather than the spot price. The futures market, which relates primarily to the spot market, is relatively small, and so is easily manipulated. It seems that the HFT algos have been programmed to track the oil futures prices and so the stock and bond markets are following every twitch of the spot price of oil.
So we are all oil traders now. What a crock. The HFT boyz are happily pushing oil up and down, ringing the cash registers both ways.
On the other hand, we know that we are about to run out of storage in the US – Cushing will be full within 3-4 months at current rates. Tanks are full or nearly full around the world. Then things will start to get interesting.