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Cheap oil’s a $90 gift for Americans: Wilbur Ross

There are winners and losers from the 60 percent tumble in oil prices—and U.S. consumers are definitely in the former camp, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday.

"I think it probably puts in the American consumer's pocket something like $90 a month for each family," the 77-year-old chairman of private equity firm WL Ross & Co said.

"While that may not sound like a lot, it really is, because there are an awful lot of folks who live payroll-to-payroll, so putting $90 more cash money (into their pockets) is a good thing."

WL Ross invests in energy, along with other industries including financial services, transportation, building materials, metals and mining, and real estate. It holds around $7 billion investments and an additional $3 billion in co-investments with partners.

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Prices of both Brent and WTI crude oil have slid since June last year, and now trade around $55 and $44 respectively, having priced at above $100 for around three years previously.

"I think the lower price of oil is certainly good for the developed world. The U.S., despite all the shale, is still a net importer, so are most of the European countries and certainly so is China and so is Japan," Ross told CNBC on Thursday.

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The U.S. investor added: "You have already seen sales of the heavier fuel-guzzling vehicles—the SUVs and the light trucks—get very strong, once the gasoline prices at the pump went below $3."

Oil prices have seesawed over the week, rallying on Wednesday after comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that rates would not rise in June, before falling back again on Thursday, with the global oversupply of oil back in focus.

Regarding when the Fed might raise its key rate, Ross said: "Frankly, I think there is way too much focus on whether they raise it a little bit in June, or they do in September. I think in the scheme of things it doesn't really make that much difference."

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