While Americans were purchasing stuff they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't like in the holiday week (but making sure to keep those tags off - you don't get record gift returns if you damage the product or rip the tags off), it appears they did so by walking everywhere. Either that or when it comes to determining real consumer purchasing power, the real answer lies at the pump. According to MasterCard, U.S. gasoline demand sank 14 percent from the prior week to the lowest level in more than seven years of records, as reported by Bloomberg. "Drivers bought 8.16 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Dec. 30, down from 9.46 million the week before, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report. MasterCard’s data goes back to July 2004." So we have just had the lowest gas demand week on record, and that's with gas still at relatively low prices considering what has happened with WTI. One wonders what will happen to end demand when prices finally trickle through. Or perhaps this is all just the central planners' insidious plan to get everyone in America to buy Government Motors magically exploding electrical fire hazard bumper cars? The people demand to know.
Fuel use fell below a year earlier for the 18th consecutive time last week, slipping 3 percent from 2010 levels. Fuel demand over the previous four weeks was 3.4 percent below a year earlier, the 41st consecutive decline in that measure. “We observed a noticeable week-to-week drop in gasoline consumption as many drivers were off the roads due to the holidays,” John Gamel , a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report. The week began on Christmas Eve.
Of course the imminent spin is just how many more iPad aps the American consumer can buy with all the extra money "saved" from actually walking for a change. Should be good for at least 10 ES points, which courtesy of 1.000 correlation will send Crude at least $1 up higher...