Falling oil prices could help inflationary pressures

There is a silver lining in the disappointing news that has fallen, along with the stock market, about the new variant of omicron on Black Friday.

Oil prices, which fell along with stock prices, did not recover on Monday and could remain low enough to provide relief to consumers at gas pumps, the AAA Travel Club said in its weekly price update of gasoline Tuesday.

The average price in Washington for a gallon of regular gasoline was $ 3.88 on Tuesday and the average price in Spokane was $ 3.56, according to AAA.

The drop in oil prices, triggered by fears that the new variant will slow economic activity around the world in the coming months, could reduce the current average price of $ 3.34 per gallon by 20 to 25 cents per gallon. regular unleaded gasoline, Mark Jenkins. noted.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 13% on Friday, closing at $ 68.15 a barrel – its lowest price since September 9. On Monday, it settled at $ 69.95 and had fallen further to $ 67.62 by mid-morning Tuesday.

This is a big drop from just a few weeks ago. Crude hit $ 77 a barrel on Nov. 9, and gas prices followed suit, climbing to an average of $ 3.36 a gallon in Florida just before Thanksgiving.

Jenkins, however, warned consumers not to expect prices to drop overnight.

“Gas prices normally go up like a rocket and fall like a feather,” Jenkins said. “So it could be a few weeks before prices at the pump fully reflect the downturn in the futures market. “

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for price comparison website GasBuddy.com, said the return of travel restrictions in many countries would reduce fuel demand and ease the supply pressures that have pushed prices to levels not seen in seven years.

Of course, oil prices could come back if the threat of the omicron variant does not materialize.

For now, the jury is still out on how the variant will affect demand for oil and gas, De Haan said.

Consumer confidence hit nine-month low last month

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in nine months in November, shaken by rising prices and concerns about the coronavirus.

The Conference Board said on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index had fallen to 109.5 from 111.6 in October. It was the lowest reading since the index hit 95.2 in February.

The investigation was completed on November 19 and would not include the ramifications of omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that has started to spread with few solid answers about the damage it could cause to the US and global economies. .

Even before the omicron variant appeared, consumer optimism was being tested by widespread price spikes, especially for gasoline and food.

The Conference Board’s current situation index, which measures consumers’ ratings of current business and working conditions, fell to 142.5 from 145.5 in October.

The expectations index, based on consumers’ outlook on income, business and labor market conditions, fell to 87.6 in November from 89.0 in October.

Survey shows house prices rose 19.1% in September

WASHINGTON – Home prices in the United States rose sharply in September, another sign that the housing market is booming in the wake of last year’s coronavirus recession.

The price of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller homes in 20 cities rose 19.1% in September from a year earlier.

The sharp price increases marked a deceleration from the 19.6% year-over-year increase in August.

Yet September prices in all 20 cities set new records.

Phoenix was the hottest market in the country, with a price increase of 33.1%.

It was followed by Tampa (where prices rose 27.7%) and Miami (25.2%). The 20 cities all reported double-digit increases. The smallest gains were recorded in Chicago (up 11.8%) and Minneapolis (12.8%).

From wire reports

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Felix J. Dixon