Saturday 23 January 2016

Russia takes one for the team

Sometimes things get better without us being fully aware of it and without any obvious action by, say, the Irish government; which would like us to believe it is the main cause of all good things. I was listening to Newtalk-FM on the way home from work last night and caught an interview that explained how I might be several €'000 better off now than in 2014. It's the price of oil, stupid. We live 40km from my place of work; it is wholly unserved by public transport and is too far for a sofa-pilot like me to bicycle. I did cycle once when the gearbox fell out of the car and I was barely able to stand when I got home let alone cycle up the final hill.  So every several days, I fill the tank of my modest and handy Toyota Yaris with petrol and am set for another week's commuting. Petrol is much cheaper now than at the end of 2014. We also heat the house with kerosene filling the 1000 lt tank with the stuff about 2x a year.  The price of petrol for cars is taxed up the wazoo but the price of home-heating oil reflects much more directly the price of Brent Crude which is floating about $30/bbl down from a recent high of >$100/bbl.

The numbers: the current price for 1000 lt of kerosene is €440 down from about €840.  That's €800 that I can spend on other stuff [shoes! booze! phones!]. The price of petrol is €1.20/lt down from late 2013 highs of €1.70. That's 50c/lt less and I consume [fuck yeh planet!] something like 40lt in each of 40 weeks a year that's another €800 for me. As cheap oil washes through the Irish economy, there will be further jolts to my sense of prosperity. But my point is that they aren't jolts but rather a warm glow which puts pre-election tax-cuts very much in shade. And now sanctions have been lifted from Iran and they have been explicitly invited to sell their oil into Europe that is surely not going to increase the price at the pump.

Coincident with the fall in oil prices, The Blob has seen a rise-and-rise of traffic/page-views from Mother Russia [L]. As an oil-exporting nation, this collapse in the global oil price must be tying their economy in knots. With government revenue way down, there will far less money for salaries and services for ordinary Russians. Heavens! there might even be a fall off in deliveries of champagne to the Госду́ма Duma.  Спасибо друзья!

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