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October 31, 2008

Halloween Financial News

UNITED STATES - No, its not what you're thinking. This post has very little to do with Halloween.

Oil prices slipped to $64.45 a barrel today (Nymex), heading for what will likely become the sharpest monthly decline in crude prices since futures trading began on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, December Brent crude fell to $62 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Since Oct. 1, the price of crude has fallen about $34, meaning a barrel of oil has lost about 35% of its value. Crude have not fallen that fast in the 25 year history of Nymex trading.

Since prices peaked above $147 in July, crude's value has been more than halved. Consumers have pulled back drastically on spending, including spending on fuel, amid an American recession.

US Consumer spending in general dropped in September by the largest amount in four years, while incomes suffered because of Hurricane Ike. Personal spending fell by 0.3 per cent last month, the biggest decline since June of 2004. That followed flat readings in both July and August, contributing to the worst quarterly performance in 28 years.

Incomes showed a 0.2 per cent rise in September, just half of the August increase, a slowdown that partly reflected the adverse effects of Hurricane Ike along the Gulf Coast. The storm cut into rental payments and earnings from businesses affected by the rough weather and its aftermath.

The September spending decline was slightly worse than economists expected and confirmed that the economy hit a wall in the third quarter because of the weakness in consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity.

TRICK OR TREAT!

Despite the recent plunge in the economy, Halloween sales are projected to reach $5.8 billion dollars across the United States. That’s up $800 million from last year. People spent more on costumes this year, but less on decorations.

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