Oil prices hit a four-year low earlier this month, and San Diego money manager Bill Gunderson says that's good news for the economy.
Lower oil prices mean lower gasoline prices, he notes on MarketWatch. "This puts more discretionary-spending money into the hands of consumers." And retail sales rose 0.3 percent in October.
"The U.S. economy is greatly dependent on the U.S. consumer. A healthy consumer translates into healthy economic growth," Gunderson writes. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of gross domestic product.
January futures on West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude,futures settled at $76.51 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The most active contract fell to its four-year low of $73.25 Nov. 14.
The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the United States dropped to $2.84 a gallon, a four-year low, according to the latest Lundberg survey released on Sunday.
In addition to boosting the economy, lower oil prices are helping retail and other consumer-oriented stocks, Gunderson says.
While China's surprise interest-rate cut lifted oil prices Friday, "the Chinese announcement is supportive but not a game changer, and we’re still going to have a surplus [of supply] next year," Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective, told Bloomberg. "We’re still looking at OPEC to do something to balance the market."
Analysts are evenly divided as to whether the cartel will cut production quotas at its meeting Thursday.
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