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From Merrill Lynch on Oil:

The plunge in oil prices, if it proves persistent, could end up being the big economic story. Energy prices have fallen very sharply in the past three months. Brent oil prices have declined from around 0/bbl in July to /bbl as this goes to print. It takes a few weeks for the full pass-through to gasoline and other refined products, but this would imply a drop of about 70 cents for a gallon of gas by year end.

How much does this boost growth? At first sight, not very much. After all, the US is becoming increasingly energy independent. The monthly energy trade deficit dropped to just .1bn in August. For argument’s sake, if we assume the trend since 2008 continues, the deficit will be zero by late 2018 … Hence, the windfall of lower prices to consumers is almost matched by the loss to producers. Nonetheless, we would expect a net stimulus to growth in the near term. The big oil producers are flush with profits and cash. … With such a large cushion of savings, we would expect them to respond slowly to weaker profit growth. Of course, if oil prices remain very low, over time, this will discourage investment and eventually lower the growth in oil production.

By contrast, consumers will likely respond quickly to the saving in energy costs. Many families live “hand to mouth”, spending whatever income is available. … formal models suggest … the /bbl drop in the price of oil can add roughly 0.4pp to real GDP growth over the next two years.

Weekend:
• Schedule for Week of October 19th

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: currently the S&P futures are up 10 and DOW futures are up about 100 (fair value).

Oil prices were down over the last week with WTI futures at .39 per barrel and Brent at .43 per barrel.  A year ago, WTI was at 2, and Brent was at 9 – so prices are down close to 20%  year-over-year.

Below is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around .12 per gallon (down more than 20 cents from a year ago).  If you click on “show crude oil prices”, the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.


Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com


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