Oil Price “Tax Cut”

US retail sales slumped in January for a second straight month…. Sales at retailers and restaurants fell 0.8% last month [January 2015]…. Retail sales dropped 0.9% in December….

This despite sharp oil and gas price drops since the summer, resulting in similarly sharp drops in fuel costs, including especially gasoline and airline jet fuel.

If we’re not spending all those savings, then, where is the money going? One clue comes from a Trading Economics graph.MonthlySavingsRates

It was being spent, all through the fall. Then, apparently, the windfall started getting saved.

I speculate the following: spend it while it lasts, but now the fuel price drop is starting to look reasonably permanent, so start saving. Or, through the fall pent-up demand for consumer goods (appliances, cars, more expensive foods, etc) created by the present sluggish sort-of recovery was being satisfied, and now, with the new year, demand is penting up again (that’s a technical term…), and savings is occurring again (possibly against that penting up demand). Keep in mind, though, that one month does not make a trend.

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