Barron’s picked up yesterday’s Energy Finally Dragging Down Spending:
THE RESILIENCY OF CONSUMER SPENDING in the face of high energy prices has surprised many observers. The modest impact high energy prices has had on spending has been mustered by some economists as proof of the resiliency of the economy. If $65-a-barrel oil doesn’t hurt spending, than this must be a robust economy, they argued.
Unfortunately, that issue has now been resolved — to the downside. With Target’s announcement last week and Wal-Mart’s dour guidance Tuesday, there can be little doubt that high energy prices are impacting consumer spending.
Up until now, the negative economic drag has been hidden by the bifurcated nature of the U.S. consumer. High gas prices may be a mere annoyance to the high-end shopper (Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, Coach), but to consumers who frequent the discounters (Costco, BJs, Wal-Mart, Target) the added energy expense significantly crimps spending. Budget-minded shoppers simply cannot shrug off $3-a-gallon gasoline.
I thought that entire line of thougth has been terribly obvious, and have been mentionin g it for the better part of a year now — but apparently, many people have been claiming that there’s no inflation and Oil doesn’t matter — Until it does, which is approximately now.
High Oil Prices Hurt Consumer Spending
Barron’s INVESTORS’ SOAPBOX AM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2005 11:56 a.m. EDT http://online.barrons.com/article/SB112422478953214742.html