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Low oil prices: More stimulus and less pain than you realize
The oil supply glut has deepened these past few weeks since OPEC decided not to restrict crude production, citing expectations for an expansion in global demand of 1.3 million barrels per day in 2016 alongside a contraction in non-OPEC supply. In the United States, mild weather and still-elevated unconventional production are contributing to the market’s oversupply, depressing prices. Crude prices recently dipped below $40 per barrel for the first time since February 2009; they likely will remain at or below that level for the next six months. Looking ahead, the December congressional vote to lift the four-decade ban on U.S. crude exports could open new markets to domestic producers and improve price parity between the West Texas Intermediate and Brent indices; however, the legislation is not expected to result in higher prices.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lower gasoline prices were expected to have saved the average household $700 in 2015, rela