Will Cheap Crude Oil Bail Out the Consumer?

Analysts on every financial news network are screaming about how the lower oil and gas prices will spur on the U.S. consumer and lead to a stronger economy. It is true that total retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, beating analysts’ expectations of 0.4 percent. And the Thomson-Reuters University of Michigan survey of consumers saw its December 2014 “preliminary index of consumer sentiment” soaring to 93.8–well above last month’s 88.8 reading. Yet, despite this, global markets are throwing off many deflationary signals that should not be ignored.