U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 14 mins

Rising oil prices won't hurt the economy until they hit $120 a barrel

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

The rising price of oil has been one of the biggest economic stories of the year.

Some experts have argued that the rising cost of gas could negate the benefits consumers reaped from the Trump tax cuts passed in late 2017.

But when it comes to the overall economic impact of rising oil prices, some economists think we’d need to see another 50% rise in the price of oil before the drag from oil prices turns outright negative.

Seth Carpenter, an economist at UBS, and his team on Wednesday released an analysis which said that oil prices would have to top $120 a barrel for the impacts on the U.S. economy to be negative. This is because as the U.S. oil industry has continued to increase production amid the rise in oil prices, the investment in the industry and the need to import less oil have aided overall GDP growth.

As of Thursday afternoon, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trade near $71 a barrel, up from around $60 at the beginning of the year and around $50 at this same time a year ago.

The average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. was around $2.92 as of Monday, up from $2.40 at this time last year and $2.52 at the beginning of the year.

“Fact 1: The US petroleum deficit has dropped sharply and is almost gone,” UBS notes. “Fact 2: The US is now a major marginal producer of oil. These two facts mean that the recent rise in oil prices is not creating a net drag on US economic growth.”

During the last peak in oil prices seen from 2010-2013, the U.S. cut its oil deficit from around $15 to $10 billion. Today, that deficit is about $6 billion, about 25% the size of the deficit back in the mid-00s period ahead of the crisis that was considered “peak oil.”

The U.S. oil deficit has been cut by almost 75% over the last decade. (Source: UBS)

Recent advances in U.S. fracking and the deregulation of U.S. exports increased global supply, increased investment and employment in the U.S. oil sector, and is seen as the main trigger for the global collapse in oil prices that occurred from late 2014 through 2016.

And though rising prices at the pump can hurt consumers, the overall impact on the economy is to increase investment in an investment-intensive industry, increase exports, and increase employment.

UBS forecasts that the energy sector will add between 100,000-148,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next year. Assuming average wages for mining and manufacturing jobs are earned by these workers, U.S. households would make up to $15 billion in additional income over the next year, according to UBS.

Investment in oil-related industries has accounted for more than all of the increase in investment over the last two years. (Source: UBS)

“At current prices, the oil sector is adding almost 40bp to US growth this year, just a touch less than last year,” UBS writes.

“Of course, this contribution is not independent of the price of oil. Because the US is a net importer, rising prices reduce US income. Therefore, oil will once again become a net drag on the US economy if oil prices get sufficiently high. But because the offset from investment is so large, oil prices have to move well into the $100s before this occurs. Even at $120 per barrel, we estimate a positive, if single digit, contribution to US GDP.”

Over at JP Morgan, economist Daniel Silver estimates the increase in oil prices will leave consumers with an additional spending burden equivalent to about 0.3% of GDP. Investment in the oil industry, should tally 0.2% of GDP, leaving the impacts of rising oil prices slightly negative for overall GDP, according to Silver.

Households, however, could lower savings to meet higher energy costs, thus making the net impact of oil’s increase neutral for GDP.

“While historically the consumption impact has overshadowed the capex impact, the rise in energy extraction’s importance in the economy over the past several decades has made the effects more balanced,” Silver writes.

So while President Trump may have bemoaned the “artificially” high oil prices he thinks are being set by OPEC, in the new U.S. economic reality high oil prices are good for growth.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

  • A former GE exec who trained new managers found that almost all of them were making the same mistake
    Business
    Business Insider

    A former GE exec who trained new managers found that almost all of them were making the same mistake

    Beth Comstock is the former vice chair of General Electric. Comstock would hand out "permission slips" authorizing employees to take risks — but she also said it's important for people to stop hiding behind their excuses. Beth Comstock doesn't tolerate excuses.

  • Ken Langone: 'Who the hell in their right frame of mind would be buying bonds now?'
    Business
    Yahoo Finance

    Ken Langone: 'Who the hell in their right frame of mind would be buying bonds now?'

    Billionaire investor and philanthropist Ken Langone, the founder of The Home Depot (HD) and chairman of Invemed Associates, argued that there’s some “big time” structural problems in the market right now. Because if we are on a trajectory of raising rates that means, and if it keeps going that way and I don’t know how high it will go, and it keeps going that way then all the sudden the guy who bought those bonds is going to be looking at a fairly decent loss,” Langone said.

  • Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Finance
    Zacks

    Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Investors will be hoping for strength from BABA as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be November 2, 2018. On that day, BABA is projected to report earnings of $1.16 per share, which would represent a year-over-year decline of 10.08%. Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for BABA.

  • These 3 Retailers Will Benefit From the Death of Sears
    Business
    Motley Fool

    These 3 Retailers Will Benefit From the Death of Sears

    Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that it will close nearly 200 stores by the end of the year. Sears still hopes to operate at least 400 stores going forward, but their fate remains uncertain as the company undergoes a painful restructuring to alleviate its billions of dollars in debt. Sears' bankruptcy was telegraphed years ago, as the retailer struggled with declining mall traffic and intense competition from superstores and Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN).

  • Social Security Checks Are Increasing: What Does That Mean For You?
    Business
    Fortune

    Social Security Checks Are Increasing: What Does That Mean For You?

    Social Security checks will see their biggest increase in four years as 2019 kicks off. The Social Security Administration has approved a 2.8% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year. That follows a 2% jump this year and an increase of just

  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Q3 Earnings Preview: Here's What to Look Out For
    Business
    Zacks

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Q3 Earnings Preview: Here's What to Look Out For

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is expected to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended September 2018. This widely-known consensus outlook gives a good sense of the company's earnings picture, but how the actual results compare to these estimates is a powerful factor that could impact its near-term stock price. The earnings report, which is expected to be released on October 24, 2018, might help the stock move higher if these key numbers are better than expectations.

  • Employee Accused of Urinating on Production Line at Food Processing Facility
    Business
    WTKR - Norfolk

    Employee Accused of Urinating on Production Line at Food Processing Facility

    Smithfield Foods, Inc. said in a statement Tuesday that it disposed of more than 50,000 pounds of product after reports of an employee urinating at his station at the company’s processing facility in Virginia.

  • Intel restructures manufacturing organization
    Finance
    American City Business Journals

    Intel restructures manufacturing organization

    Chip giant Intel is restructuring its technology and manufacturing business group as it chases more connected device markets and grapples with delays on its next chip generation. In a memo to employees, reviewed by the Business Journal, Group President and Chief Engineering Officer Murthy Renduchintala described splitting the technology and manufacturing business into three groups. The three new groups are technology development, manufacturing and operations and global supply chain.

  • 10 Marijuana Stocks for the Canadian ‘Pot Rush’
    Finance
    InvestorPlace

    10 Marijuana Stocks for the Canadian ‘Pot Rush’

    After historic legislation that moved Canada as the first G7 member state to legalize recreational marijuana, it became official. This has significant implications, especially for marijuana stocks. As such, investors should strongly consider marijuana stocks to buy, irrespective of their personal reservations.

  • Home Depot Stock Falls 4.5% on Credit Suisse’s Downgrade
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Home Depot Stock Falls 4.5% on Credit Suisse’s Downgrade

    Home Depot Stock Falls 4.5% on Credit Suisse’s Downgrade Credit Suisse’s downgrade Today, CNBC reported that Credit Suisse downgraded Home Depot (HD) stock from “outperform” to “neutral.” Credit Suisse lowered its price target from $222.00 to $204.00

  • 3 Stocks for Warren Buffett Fans
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks for Warren Buffett Fans

    Warren Buffett has no shortage of acolytes, and it's easy to see why. The Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) chief and founder has made thousands of early investors in his conglomerate rich as the parent of businesses like GEICO car insurance and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has posted average annual returns of 20% over the last 50 years, crushing the market. Buffett has never gotten too big for his britches, however.

  • Legal pot in Canada putting pressure on US
    CGC
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Legal pot in Canada putting pressure on US

    Canada’s moves to legalize recreational marijuana could have major impacts on the US. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous speaks with Alexis Keenan about the state of legalization in this country.

  • Business
    CNBC

    Cramer: Alphabet and Amazon, my largest trust holding, can still be bought after Netflix beat

    CNBC's Jim Cramer checks in on FAANG after Netflix's earnings beat to see how shares of the technology giants are holding up. Alphabet and Amazon's stocks look "ripe to buy" after the recent sell-off, the "Mad Money" host says. CNBC's Jim Cramer has spotted some attractive buying opportunities in FAANG — his acronym for the stocks of Facebook FB , Amazon AMZN , Apple AAPL , Netflix NFLX and Google, now Alphabet GOOGL — after the market's latest sell-off.

  • Business
    CNBC

    Walmart saves $200 million by changing its light bulbs and $20 million with a new floor wax

    Walmart says switching to LED lights in its parking lots cut its annual energy costs by $200 million. A change in the floor wax it uses cut costs by $20 million a year because the floors need to be buffed less often. It's exactly what Walmart WMT is doing.

  • A Look at Skechers’ Recent Growth Numbers
    Finance
    Market Realist

    A Look at Skechers’ Recent Growth Numbers

    Can Skechers Hit Its Stride in Q3 2018? (Continued from Prior Part) Looking at Skechers’ growth numbers Skechers (SKX) reported strong double-digit growth between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2017. Its total sales increased at an average of 22.0% during this

  • Where Will NVIDIA Be in 5 Years?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Where Will NVIDIA Be in 5 Years?

    At one time, NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) floated under the radar in the technology sector. Its graphics processing units (GPUs) were then niche tech products that appealed mainly to graphic artists and hardcore PC gamers, but that all changed over the last

  • Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back

    Shares of American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) popped 6.4% in early trading Wednesday before retracting to close the day up less than 1% -- just 0.9%, to be precise. An upgrade assigned to the stock by Deutsche Bank appears to be the primary reason for the move. A Deutsche Bank analyst upgraded American Airlines stock from "hold" to "buy" on Wednesday, as we're told by our friends at StreetInsider.com.

  • Business
    Associated Press

    United Rentals: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ United Rentals Inc. (URI) on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $333 million. On a per-share basis, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said it had profit of $4.01. Earnings, adjusted

  • Housing Stocks Tumble Midday; Home Depot Dents Dow
    Finance
    Investing.com

    Housing Stocks Tumble Midday; Home Depot Dents Dow

    Investing.com - Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and other housing-leveraged stocks fell in midday trading following disappointing data on home construction. Home Depot fell about 4.2% at 12:08 PM ET (16:08 GMT) and was a drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

  • Better Buy: The Home Depot, Inc. vs. Lowe's
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: The Home Depot, Inc. vs. Lowe's

    Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) have helped countless homeowners increase the value of their homes. They've also made many investors rich. With their shares having soared 879% and 484%, respectively, over the past decade, Home Depot and Lowe

  • AT&T (T) Q3 Earnings Preview: How Are Events Shaping Up?
    Business
    Zacks

    AT&T (T) Q3 Earnings Preview: How Are Events Shaping Up?

    The market expects AT&T (T) to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended September 2018. This widely-known consensus outlook is important in assessing the company's earnings picture, but a powerful factor that might influence its near-term stock price is how the actual results compare to these estimates. The stock might move higher if these key numbers top expectations in the upcoming earnings report, which is expected to be released on October 24.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Kinder Morgan's Q3 Earnings Preview

    Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) will be releasing its next round of earnings Wednesday. For all of the relevant information, here is your guide for the Q3 earnings announcement. Earnings and Revenue Analysts expect Kinder Morgan earnings of 21 cents per share

  • Business
    CNBC

    Berkshire Hathaway shares look really cheap using Warren Buffett's own method of valuing stocks

    Companies pay investors dividends but they also retain some of their earnings. Over time, companies invest these retained earnings at a higher rate of return and that ultimately boosts their share prices, benefiting their investors. J.P. Morgan analyst Sarah DeWitt calculates that Berkshire's share of undistributed earnings from its stock portfolio is $12 billion, or about $5.19 per Berkshire Class B share.

  • Nvidia (NVDA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Business
    Zacks

    Nvidia (NVDA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Heading into today, shares of the maker of graphics chips for gaming and artificial intelligence had lost 9.29% over the past month, lagging the Computer and Technology sector's loss of 4.86% and the S&P 500's loss of 3.08% in that time. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $3.25 billion, up 23.44% from the year-ago period. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

  • Netflix is ditching freeloaders from subscriber forecasts after volatile stock moves
    News
    MarketWatch

    Netflix is ditching freeloaders from subscriber forecasts after volatile stock moves

    After two consecutive off-the-mark quarters, falling short of its own forecasts for subscriber growth, Netflix Inc. hopes to put an end to the big swings in its stock price with some changes to its accounting. Three months ago, Netflix reported weaker-than-expected subscriber growth, sending its stock tumbling about 12% in the next trading day. From last quarter: Is Netflix stock falling down a mountain, or just tripping over a molehill?