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National Gas Prices Could Hit $6.20 Per Gallon By August

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Gas Prices

National gas prices could surge to well over $6 per gallon by the end of the summer, according to analysts at JPMorgan.

Natasha Kaneva, head of global oil and commodities research at JPMorgan, wrote in a research document that the United States was going to face a “cruel summer” as gas prices are expected to dwarf their already record highs.

“With expectations of strong driving demand — traditionally, the U.S. summer driving season starts on Memorial Day, which lands this year on May 30, and lasts until Labor Day in early September — U.S. retail price could surge another 37% by August to a $6.20/gallon national average,” she wrote.

“Typically, refiners produce more gasoline ahead of the summer road-trip season, building up inventories,” the analysts said. However, over the last month, “gasoline inventories have fallen counter seasonally and today sit at the lowest seasonal levels since 2019.”

The report comes the same week that the United States set a new record for gas prices with the average cost per gallon rising over $4 per gallon in all 50 states for the first time ever, according to a report from the American Automobile Association (AAA).

“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”

As explained in the report, “total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 3.6 million bbl to 225 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand also decreased slightly from 8.86 million b/d to 8.7 million b/d. Typically, lower demand would put downward pressure on pump prices. However, crude prices remain volatile, and as they surge, pump prices follow suit. Pump prices will likely face upward pressure as oil prices stay above $105 per barrel.”

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Economy

Atlanta Fed’s GDP Tracker Shows United States May Be In A Recession

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Joe Biden

The United States has likely entered a recession, according to the Federal Reserve’s key gauge for measuring economic activity.

The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow measure, which tracks economic data in real time and continuously adjusts projections, says that the United States economy will shrink by 2.1% in the second quarter. A 2.1% contraction in the second quarter paired with the first quarter’s decline of 1.6% would meet the definition of a recession.

“GDPNow has a strong track record, and the closer we get to July 28th’s release [of the initial Q2 GDP estimate] the more accurate it becomes,” wrote Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research.

The tracker fell dramatically last week from an estimate of 0.3% after data “showing further weakness in consumer spending and inflation-adjusted domestic investment prompted the cut that put the April-through-June period into negative territory,” CNBC reported.

“One big change in the quarter has been rising interest rates,” CNBC added. “In an effort to curb surging inflation, the Fed has jacked up its benchmark borrowing rate by 1.5 percentage points since March, with more increases likely to come through the remainder of the year and perhaps into 2023.”

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the decision to fight inflation by increasing interest rates was “highly likely” to cause pain to Americans.

During the European Central Bank forum, host Francine Laqua asked Powell, “If you’re speaking out to the American people to try and help them understand how long it will take for, you know, monetary policy to go back to something that resembles normalcy … what would you tell them?”

“I would say that we fully understand and appreciate … the pain people are going through dealing with higher inflation, that we have the tools to address that and the resolve to use them, and that we are committed to and will succeed in getting inflation down to two percent,” Powell responded.

“The process is likely, highly likely to involve some pain, but the worst pain would be from failing to address this high inflation and allowing it to become persistent,” he added.

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Economy

Biden’s Fed Chairman: Solving Inflation ‘Highly Likely To Involve Some Pain’ For Americans

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On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that solving the inflation crisis is “highly likely” to cause pain to Americans but that it would be less painful than not addressing inflation.

During the European Central Bank forum, host Francine Laqua asked Powell, “If you’re speaking out to the American people to try and help them understand how long it will take for, you know, monetary policy to go back to something that resembles normalcy … what would you tell them?

“I would say that we fully understand and appreciate … the pain people are going through dealing with higher inflation, that we have the tools to address that and the resolve to use them, and that we are committed to and will succeed in getting inflation down to two percent,” he responded.

“The process is likely, highly likely to involve some pain, but the worst pain would be from failing to address this high inflation and allowing it to become persistent,” Powell added.

Powell’s comments come as inflation has reached the highest rate in more than 40 years with prices rising 8.6% from May 2021 to May 2022, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In order to bring down inflation, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rate by 0.75% earlier this month – the highest increase since 1994 – and warned of additional increases in the interest rate in the future.

“The three-quarter-point hike brings the federal funds rate to between 1.5% and 1.75%. The federal funds rate dictates what it costs for banks to borrow money from each other. And, generally, higher interest rates mean it’s more expensive for consumers to get a mortgage, obtain a loan to buy a vehicle and to carry a balance on a credit card,” NBC News reported. “The expected effect of these changes is that consumers will spend less and the heightened demand for goods — one of the drivers of inflation — will slow down.”

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