For the U.S. consumer the economic boost provided by lower gasoline costs is hitting at the perfect time. The Federal Reserve just ended their extensive QE stimulus program at the end of October with hope the economy could stand on its own.
Russia intervenes in the ruble to try to slow a currency meltdown, plunging oil prices cause stress in the credit markets and deflation forces in the European Union and Asia threaten their financial stability.
OPEC’s decision to refrain from action had an immediate effect on crude oil prices. Prices sunk as it became clear Saudi Arabia is more concerned with losing markets share than the pressure low prices are putting on its cartel partners.