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Offbeat Rising Gas Prices Raise Concerns for U.S. Economy

16:23  11 july  2018
16:23  11 july  2018 Source:   online.wsj.com

Trump says OPEC doing 'little' to help rising gas prices

  Trump says OPEC doing 'little' to help rising gas prices President Trump again took aim at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday, accusing the organization of doing 'little to help' rising gas prices."The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help," the president tweeted Wednesday afternoon, on the Fourth of July holiday. "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s. This must be a two way street.

The highest retail gasoline prices in years are the latest development to raise concerns about one of the longest-running U . S . economic expansions on Drivers across the U . S . in May paid as much as .96 a gallon on average, the most since 2014. Prices have climbed to .63 in California and .39

The highest retail gas prices in years are raising concerns about one of the longest-running U . S . economic expansions on record. Prices have climbed to .63 in California and .39 in Washington, states where prices tend to be higher because of factors such as higher taxes

  Rising Gas Prices Raise Concerns for U.S. Economy © David Zalubowski/Associated Press The highest retail gas prices in years are raising concerns about one of the longest-running U.S. economic expansions on record.

Drivers across the U.S. have paid as much as $2.96 a gallon on average this year, the most since 2014. Prices have climbed to $3.63 in California and $3.39 in Washington, states where prices tend to be higher because of factors such as higher taxes, environmental regulations requiring cleaner fuel and a lack of pipelines that transport oil west.

With wages in the U.S. climbing, Americans have so far been able to weather the higher prices. But analysts say that if average gas prices hit $3.50 or even $4 a gallon as global oil prices rise, that could dent growth by eating into disposable income and spending.

Trump: OPEC is 'doing little to help' with gas prices

  Trump: OPEC is 'doing little to help' with gas prices In a tweet, the president claims "the OPEC monopoly" is "if anything driving prices higher"President Donald Trump says OPEC is "doing little to help" rising gas prices and claims "if anything, they are driving prices higher.

OPIS chief oil analyst Tom Kloza on the outlook for oil and gas .

WASHINGTON — Consumer prices in the United States increased for a second straight month in March on rising gasoline and housing costs. The Labor Department said on Friday that its Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent last month in broad-based price gains after a similar increase in

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U.S. airlines have already increased ticket prices, and over time higher energy and manufacturing costs can eat into company profits, slowing hiring. Industrial giant 3M Co. and appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. have cited higher material costs as challenges.

The U.S. economy has entered its 10th year of expansion, one of the longest on record, but a Wall Street Journal survey shows most economists think a recession could come in 2020. Rising energy prices can also feed into inflation, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more aggressively. The central bank has increased interest rates two times this year, and is expected to raise rates another two times.

America's labor shortage is reaching a critical point

  America's labor shortage is reaching a critical point America’s labor shortage is approaching epidemic proportions, and it could be employers who end up paying. A report Thursday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics cast an even brighter light on what is becoming one of the most important economic stories of 2018: the difficulty employers are having in finding qualified employees to fill a record 6.7 million job openings.Truck drivers are in perilously low supply, Silicon Valley continues to struggle to fill vacancies, and employers across the grid are coping with a skills mismatch as the economy edges ever closer to full employment.

But across the country, gas prices continue to rise , and expectations are that they still may have a ways to go. In part, that is because of pressure on oil The U . S . Energy Information Administration projects gasoline prices will average .70 per gallon during peak driving season this year.

But costlier energy and rising gasoline prices cast a shadow over prospects, the Fed summary said. "While the near-term outlook for household spending was encouraging, contacts in several districts expressed concerns that rising gas prices could limit discretionary spending in the months to come

“People are on the lookout for a downturn,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis. “Tight monetary policy combined with rising energy costs is typically not a good development for U.S. households.”

While the stock market and employment trends remain strong, threats loom with the U.S.-China trade dispute. On Friday, both countries slapped levies of $34 billion on each others’ exports, kicking off America’s biggest trade battle since the Great Depression.

Investors have also spotted signs of a slowdown in other markets. Last week, a widely watched difference between Treasury yields—known as the yield curve—fell to its lowest in nearly 11 years—a development that can suggest economic weakness.

“Every recession has been preceded by two things: an inverted yield curve and rising oil and gas,” Mr. LaVorgna said.

A steady depletion of inventories and global demand have propelled oil to the highest prices in over three years. On Tuesday, U.S. oil futures closed up 0.4% at $74.11, near the highest level since November 2014.

Here’s when Americans will start feeling the pain from escalating Trump-imposed tariffs

  Here’s when Americans will start feeling the pain from escalating Trump-imposed tariffs Very few Americans have paid a price from escalating U.S. tariffs, but if trade fights get worse, the first big bill will come due shortly after the school year starts. An initial blast of tariffs, mostly targeting $50 billion in Chinese goods, was tailored by the Trump administration to minimize the damage to the U.S. economy. Consumers or businesses could more easily find substitutes for goods whose prices would rise due to higher U.S. tariffs.

Economy . Rising Gas and Food Prices Push U . S . Inflation Higher. Food and gasoline price rises accounted for most of the increases, with gasoline accounting for almost half of The Fed has raised its forecast of inflation, projecting that prices could rise 2.1 to 2.8 percent this year, mostly because of

Rising gas prices can be absorbed by everyone without a lot of hardship . except for those on fixed incomes and those on shoestring budgets. What about high gas prices causing people to drive less and thus be better for the environment?

President Donald Trump has blamed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and asked Saudi Arabia to further increase output. On July 4, he tweeted, “The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help.”

Analysts said Mr. Trump may be trying to lower gas prices ahead of this year’s midterm elections. However, his tweets have had mixed effects.

“The gasoline story in the U.S. is very much a geopolitical story. It’s down to OPEC, its down to Saudi Arabia and it’s down to Iran,” said James McCullagh, an analyst at Energy Aspects. “Ultimately the price of crude isn’t playing ball at the moment,” he said.

A surging oil market is rarely the sole factor in triggering a downturn. Strong fuel demand is one of the reasons that crude prices have gained this year. But in recent months, rising prices have been attributed to concerns over a possible supply shock, which could pose a greater threat to the global economy than a demand-driven rally.

Other indicators on the health of U.S. energy demand are mixed. Vehicle miles traveled in April fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% compared with the previous year, according to the Transportation Department. Gasoline demand fell year-over-year in both May and June, the first consecutive monthly decline since the start of 2017, the financial firm Cowen & Co. estimates.

Deserey Morales, who works at a nightclub in L.A., said she finds current gas prices “ridiculous.”

But she said it wouldn’t change how much she drives.

“You still have to do what you have to do,” Ms. Morales said. “I don’t really have the choice.”

Write to Stephanie Yang at stephanie.yang@wsj.com

Warning signs rise for the stock market's record run .
The current bull market in stocks is a month or so away from becoming the longest in history. If it happens, then what? Many along Wall Street expect the rally that began in March 2009 to eclipse the 1990-2000 run that ended with the dot-com crash. But a growing number of experts are questioning whether the stock market's run will keep going through 2019 and beyond.The big threat now is the potential for a punishing trade war, as the United States squabbles with allies and rivals alike on tariffs. That could squeeze earnings and economic growth around the world.

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