People are busy reporting that Consumer Prices are down, but realistically, it was only elimination of balloon profits in crude Energy Sales. There is conflict reportage on Mall Sales this Christmas Season, with Commerce Dept. and Mall operators claiming a rise in Sales, but some tracking companies reporting actual declines over last Year. This Author has observed a heavy increase in traffic at the Discount stores (no hard numbers), but a traffic flow not just responsive to Walmart's advertised Discounts; the Dollar stores (of all various types) do not utilize traditional Pricing discounts in favor on set low Prices, and they are exceptionally full this Year.
Oil Prices are still excessive, due to Target-Buying strategies which are not based upon on hard statistical shortage Run-ins. The threat of an actual shortage of Energy for the American market has been declining since September; the latest flux rise in Oil Prices having little basis in fact. The less-marked, but more important element is the rise in Energy usage in the United States, something vastly unreported. It is a time when actual American Energy usage should be declining, instead of increasing. Economists dislike discussion of Energy conservation, knowing much of laxity in the Japanese economy came from the heavy concentration on Energy conservation. Americans, though, will eventually have to make the switch to Energy controls in Production; the Price of Energy is simply not sufficient high to frighten the current American Business elite. lgl