Monday, October 8, 2007

Can a Plucky U.S. Economy Surmount $80 Oil?

From the New York Times:

Oil prices, an economic scourge in decades past, have soared to record levels in recent years. But the fallout often seemed negligible: Americans kept spending; employment kept growing; factories, construction crews and retail stores stayed busy.

Now, however, the economy may be starting to sputter as damage from the weak housing market drags down growth. If payrolls drop significantly, will high-price crude oil begin to cause pain in a way that it hasn’t in nearly three decades?

Many economists do not think so, maintaining that if the United States entered a recession, the price of oil would quickly drop.
“The United States is the single largest oil-consuming nation in the world,” said Stephen P. A. Brown, director of energy economics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “A slowdown here ought to bring the price of oil down.”

That view is by no means unanimous. The global economy has been growing rapidly, and oil consumption overseas keeps rising. A few economists say it is possible that even if the American economy weakens, demand abroad will be strong enough to keep oil prices high....MORE

HT: either Energy Roundup or MarketBeat, I can't remember which.