The oil price plunge has been touted as a global growth elixir, but so far the impact on the economy has been subtle and it's unclear when that will change.
"Local fuel prices have almost fully adjusted to lower crude oil prices," Goldman Sachs said in a note last week after tracking data from 24 countries. But it expects the stimulus impact on the economy won't be straightforward, depending on whether low prices are perceived as likely to persist and government policy responses.
"Income gains of households might not necessarily translate into significant spending rises," it said, adding that corporate gains would likely be reflected more slowly.
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For companies, "the price pass-through mechanism is quite complex, with oil windfalls spread out to dividends, wages, and retained earnings, not necessarily spilled over directly to consumers via lower retail prices," Goldman said. "The use of oil is also quite diverse, entailing transportation, feedstock, and energy and a significant part of final goods are exported, with any spillover of windfalls going overseas."
What spending boost?
These factors appear to be playing out in the U.S. economy.
Households there don't appear to be spending the oil largesse just yet, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note Monday.