Skip to comments.Economic Risk: The Gasoline Wild Card
Posted on 02/24/2012 9:58:38 AM PST by blam
Economic Risk: The Gasoline Wild Card
By Doug Short
February 23, 2012
Of the many risks facing the US economy, the one I find most immediately concerning is the rapidly increasing rise in gas prices. My latest weekly gasoline update showed a 36-cent rise in gas prices, regular and premium, over the past nine weeks. In fact, it was about nine weeks ago that I filled the tank on our Prius at $2.98 a gallon just south of Myrtle Beach. Today the best price I can find in this area is $3.42.
Will prices continue to rise? Most assuredly they will. The news today was filled with items on the rapid rise in the price of oil. West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTIC) hit an intraday high of 108.05. Priced in euros, Brent futures hit an all-time high, beating the previous record set on July 3, 2008. WTIC also hit its all-time high that day, and gasoline prices also peaked the same week.
Unlike the situation in July 2008, which was in the midst of an ongoing recession with miles-driven plummeting and was shortly before the market crash that accelerated the consumer flight to frugality, February 2012 has an air of optimism. The S&P 500 is 0.01% away from setting a new interim high, currently dating from April 29, 2011, and reports are circulating that retail investors are returning to the market.
Perhaps gasoline at $4 plus in 2008 has conditioned consumers to be prepared for yet higher prices. Or perhaps the unusually warm winter and plunging price of the other gas (natural) has left sufficient room in the household energy allowance to absorb the rising gasoline costs without crimping the overall budget.
As for the stock market, here is a snapshot of CME gasoline spot prices against the S&P 500 since January of 2006. How much further can the two rise in tandem?
Earlier today wizard market technician Chris Kimble sent me a chart of gasoline futures and the SPY ETF:
Shortly after I received Chris's email, I saw this CNBC commentary: Get Ready for Gas Prices to Hit $5 by Summer.
Can the US economy, about 70% of which is driven by consumer spending, continue to expand with five-dollar gasoline? There's a good chance we'll have an opportunity to find out.
It's not even March!
There’s another part to all this:
MANY credit cards won’t let you pump more than $50 or $75 at one time on your credit card for gasoline.
I have a 22 gallon vehicle & I have a 40 gallon truck. Either one puts me over the limit & I have to shut down the pump, collect my receipt & start over to finish.
SOME stations won’t let you get a second bite at the apple. You literally have to go to another station to finish filling up. This even happens on the Interstates, with long distances between towns.
There’s probably not very many things people buy regularly that don’t depend on some form of petroleum to get them to the point of sale.
This is going to affect EVERYTHING.
But, it’s axiomatic that it’s not 0bama’s fault,
because nothing is ever his fault.
My Chase card recently went from a limit of $70.00 to $90.00.
Exactly, normally it goes up during holidays and summer vacations. It rising so fast in Feb. means it's being manipulated. I don't believe for a minute that it's only the Middle East who's playing fast with the price. I suspect a lot has to do with Soros and his pet monkey.
This is what monetized inflation looks like. You get increases in prices at a time when the economy should be depressing prices.
With demand down prices should reflect this same trend to spur demand, but with the influx of money in the markets in general this causes devaluation of commodities of which petroleum is a commodity and hence increasing prices.
This is the same thing that happened under Jimmy Carter, remember the term stagflation?
Here you go!!!!!
I just went food shopping. Prices are getting ridiculous.