Skip to comments.Why Worry? (Oil Prices)
Posted on 07/10/2006 9:43:52 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
When the Fed frets over high oil prices, the stock market reels. The real numbers, though, tell a happier story.
In early June Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke spooked markets worldwide with fears of energy-fueled inflation. With its latest interest-rate increase a few weeks later, the Fed hinted those fears may have passed. Indeed, the economy seems to have handily absorbed a sevenfold increase in oil prices since 1999. "If it was gonna bite it would have bitten harder by now," says Alec Young, strategist at S&P Equity Research Services.
Even with oil's startling surge, from $10 a barrel in 1999 to the $70 range lately, the resulting rise in gasoline prices has had nowhere near the impact of the last oil crisis, back in the early 1980s. Gas was at 7.2% of consumer spending 20 years ago--but it is at only half that rate today (3.7%). As a slice of the U.S. GDP, gasoline is down by a third, to 3%.
Nor is growth a problem. Industrial production in May was up 4.3% over a year ago, and capacity utilization is at 82%, above the historical average. Corporate profits keep growing despite the oil inflation that was supposed to roil business. Companies in the S&P 500 have racked up a record four years of up earnings and look to increase profits another 12% this year.
One key: This time around oil prices have risen at a slower and more stable pace, says Hillard Huntington, director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University. In the Arab oil embargo in 1973 prices more than doubled in three months. That spread economic mayhem because makers had to seek new efficiencies even as sales slumped.
"The unexpectedness and the inability of people to adjust quickly caused problems," says Huntington. "And I don't see that happening in this economy."
The bigger threat today: an overreaction by Bernanke (rhymes with "Cranky"). "If you're so bent on an anti-inflation policy, then what you're willing to do is sacrifice economic growth and employment to prevent price increases," says Douglas Bohi, an energy policy expert with CRA International in Washington. And that would be bad--far worse than the rather innocuous ills wrought so far by oil's escalating cost.
In light of all of this I would like to know two things. #1, what has caused a seven fold incres in prices? And no, I am not stupid or ignorant, it is a legitimate question. and #2, when will the obviously overinflated price of oil drop?
It's not overinflated--it's finally up to normal.
I posted the above on another thread earlier today. One must also remember that when oil was $12 a bbl it was artificially low due to an overly strong dollar and economic problems in Asia.
2) The Democrats/environmental wackos unwillingness to support USA drilling for oil
3) President Bush's (and the Republican senate and congress's) unwillingness to put a full court press on GENUINE ENERGY POLICY/REFORM.
Energy and the lack thereof is a direct threat to our national security, he should present an executive order to drill in Anwar and everywhere else we have proven oil reserves. He should also provide for new refineries and nuclear power plants in order to limit our dependence on oil being sold by people who hate our country, who openly support our enemies and who want to see us converted, enslaved to Islam or dead.
Why worry? Because this energy crisis is killing us as a nation and hurting millions of middle class and poor Americans and it is only going to get worse. Sure the rich and the speculators are not impacted, but EVERYONE ELSE in America is.
If you expect oil prices to collapse any time soon, you are sadly mistaken. Some pin the blame on a supposed "Iraq war premium," but that would have faded out by now. It's all suppy and demand, and the Asian countries are behind the surging demand.
Incidentally, I don't really mind the high gasoline prices, though I probably have to use more than most folks who post here due to my job. The reason is that I know that the high prices are keeping that oil coming here instead of to China or some other place.
perhaps...but now lets get our paychecks up to normal to compensate!
" ... an executive order to drill in Anwar and everywhere else we have proven oil reserves. He should also provide for new refineries and nuclear power plants in order to limit our dependence on oil being sold by people who hate our country, who openly support our enemies and who want to see us converted, enslaved to Islam or dead. .."
All of which requires an even higher price for oil than we have now. The companies who do those things are just now recovering to profitability from the years of $12/bbl in the not-so-distant past.
They need profits for reinvestment in order to go forward.
Unfortunately, the equilibrium isn't disrupted. We're just all used to cheap oil & gasoline.
See this in the thread-starting article?
" ... Gas was at 7.2% of consumer spending 20 years ago--but it is at only half that rate today (3.7%). ..."
"this energy crisis is killing us"
No, it's not.
"Gas was at 7.2% of consumer spending 20 years ago--but it is at only half that rate today (3.7%). As a slice of the U.S. GDP, gasoline is down by a third, to 3%."
Try reading the article, gas is cheap in real terms. That's why the streets are still crowded with cars, or haven't you noticed?
Great minds, and all that!
and as long as the RINO's and Dems stop drilling in our own country the supply isn't likely to increase as the people doing the providing manipulate the supply.
LOL, no kidding!
I understand that in Saudi Arabia there are only 300 producing wells and they haven't drilled in over 50 years. I don't know if they even have a refinery.
spot market deals with options.
Howard Dean, is that you?
I don't believe your extremist rhetoric, mainly because I have seen NO decline in the number of gas-fueled vehicles on the roads.
First ask what caused the drop to $10 /bbl in 1999, by far the lowest price in history, in real $?
The Asian economic slump. Oil is a volitile commodity, where supply and demand are fairly nicely balanced world-wide. A sharp drop or rise in demand creates a "glut" or "shortage" that causes a big price reaction.
As the world economy recovered, (Bush Tax Cuts didn't hurt, either), demand went up, and the jitters of the lat 4 years have meant that people also want to have their stocks fuller than usual.
World wide production actually continues to increase, setting new all-time records 8 of the last 11 years (including the last 4).
Oil will continue to fluctuate, but without actually cutting production sharply, "speculators" can't keep a price up (or down) forever -- see the Hunt Brothers and Silver in the 1980s.
Calm the jitters and keep increasing production, and we'll be fine.
I don't have access to our GDP. I only know that spending on gas and heating products has more than doubled in the last five years.
Posting those numbers is for analysts and people who have millions of dollars so they don't feel guilty about all the waste they create. I have seriously felt the crunch and I drive good mileage cars. Gasoline demand in the U.S. has gone up because people with lots of money don't care if they drive a car that only gets 12 mpg. Too bad for the little folks - they'll just have to suffer.
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