Stocks are not the only thing enjoying the ECB's $800 billion balance sheet expansion (and just announced additional Bank of England Quantiative Easing) over the past 6 months. Lately a new and unwelcome visitor has also figured out the Euroean Central Bank's sneaky motives. No, not Germany, they still are hopelessly confused and still believe the ECB is not "printing" money. Nor gold. It did long ago, just as Roubini was calling for an imminent crash following the 200 DMA breach - it is headed over $2000 in short order. No, this time it is that last entrant to any reliqufication party, who just happens to be the guaranteed party-pooper: gasoline.
As the weekly Lundberg survey shows, in the week ended February 10, gas rose by 11.57 cents to $3.5101, the highest since September. The latest price is also 12% higher compared to a year earlier. What is troubling is that as the attached chart shows, the trend of gradual gas price declines has now firmly ended, having touched a low of $3.20, and has been replaced by a steady climb over the past 2 months. In other words, the US consumer's retail spending has been far weaker than expected in November and December, and soon to be discovered in January, primarily due to gas purchases, which have already plunged as discussed recently, once again taking up a substantial portion of the discretionary spending basket (on credit at that). And what is worse, is that as the LTRO #2 is about to add another several hundred billion to the ECB's balance sheet, which will ineivtably be followed by more Fed printing, the Gasoline trendline has only one way to go. Expect the recent highs of $4.00/gallon to be taken out shortly, and to lead to yet another GDP roll over once again. Alas, none of this will be a consolation to European readers, who a few days ago just saw gas hit all time highs.
Finally, we don't have to remind our regulars, that as David Rosenberg has been warning, the biggest "benefit" to the economy in H2 2011 was the consistently declining gas price. Now that that is over, and prices are once again increasing, one can kiss that particular one-time stimulus to the economy goodbye. Unless of course that long overdue transitory deflationary collapse takes place promptly.
Here is Reuters with more:
The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose nearly 12 cents in the past three weeks to about $3.51, due in part to higher prices for North Sea crude oil, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 11.57 cents to $3.5101 as of Feb. 10, the survey of about 2,500 gasoline stations in the continental United States found.
That was a greater change than the 3.5-cent rise in the previous survey, which covered the two weeks that ended Jan. 20.
Survey editor Trilby Lundberg told Reuters that the higher prices came as the price for North Sea Brent crude rose more than $7 per barrel. Brent prices are more volatile and sensitive to changes in the Middle East than is U.S. crude.
Lundberg said U.S. pump prices will likely rise a few more cents in the short-term because retailers have yet to pass along all of the recent wholesale price increases.
Among cities covered by the survey, the lowest average price was in Denver at $3.01 per gallon. The price was highest in Long Island suburbs of New York, at $3.82. The price difference is largely because of taxes, Lundberg said.