A Perfect Storm Unleashes The Nightmare Before Christmas In The US

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Americans got another bad news this week. This winter, heating bills will be higher. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), nearly half of American households that heat their homes primarily with natural gas can expect to spend an average of 30% more on their bills compared to last year.

The agency adds that bills will be 50% higher if winter is 10% colder than average and 22% higher if winter is 10% warmer than average.

At the same time, the national consumer is already suffering in gasoline prices the rise of more than 65% in oil prices so far this year while those of natural gas have shot up more than 112% since January.

Since last October, gasoline prices have risen about $ 1.10 per gallon (3.1 liters) and are currently hovering at $ 3.27 per gallon , according to AAA. The price could continue to climb as West Texas Intermediate surpassed $ 80 a barrel this week for the first time since 2014 and maintains its run toward $ 100.

“We have an increase in energy that will be a drag on growth in the fourth quarter.”

Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan, acknowledged in a note to his clients that periods of rising oil prices are often troublesome as they bring with them broader disruptive elements with potential burdens on growth.

“We have an increase in energy that will be a drag on growth in the fourth quarter,” he warns, while clarifying that he does not see a recession “but in which we must worry that it affects growth significantly.”

All this at a time when inflation reached a year-on-year increase of 5.4% in September (4% in its core rate) gradually permeating the consumer portfolio while bottlenecks and supply problems threaten to wreck the holiday shopping season.

Retailers are trying to keep up despite pressures hovering over the final stretch of the year, including worker shortages and supply chain disruptions.

Three in four US retailers say consumers expect more from stores than they can deliver due to a labor shortage, according to a survey by staff management specialist UKG. About 85% expect supply chain disruptions to affect customers.

For now, ICSC, the leading shopping center organization on this side of the Atlantic, is feeling quite optimistic about the upcoming Christmas season, despite supply chain headaches, and expects sales in November and December to increase. 8.9% compared to last year .

Last year, spending grew 8.3% . More than double the 3.5% average growth of the previous five years, according to holiday figures released by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

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