November 24, 2008

Heading south

Many years ago, I was trying to sell my house in the US. Got it valued, and got a number laughably lower than I had paid for it, than I still owed on the loan. About then I happened to be idly watching TV one evening, and they had a program on about the tough real estate market in Austin. (Where all this excitement was happening).

The host looked at price trends and so on, and then pinpointed the beginning of the ongoing slide in housing prices. That pinpoint, it turned out, was in exactly the month that I had bought the house. In fact, considering that I had bought it on the 15th of that month, I could make the case that housing prices began heading south the very moment I took possession of my little mansion.

These years later, I can laugh. I wasn't laughing then.

Today, I felt slightly like I did when I watched that TV program, though on a smaller scale if you like. According to this CNN report that I read today, gas prices in the US now average below $2 a gallon. Makes me weep, because I spent several weeks earlier this year driving nearly 10000 miles in that country, paying anywhere between $3.50 and $4.50 a gallon.

But not just that. The same report informs me that the "All-time high average -- $4.11 -- was set four months ago."

Today happens to be four months, to the day, since I began that trip in the US.


As an corollary ... oil prices have fallen over the last few months from $150 a barrel to less than $50 a barrel. That's one of the reasons for the fall in gas prices. So why have petrol prices in India not fallen at all, let alone similarly?

1 comment:

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Occurred to me too. One explanation is that the oil companies (and the airlines) are waiting till they recoup the losses they incurred when it went over $100 a barrel. (In late July I was told that if the crisis was not solved by September, we'd see gas stations being shut down and fuel being rationed)

The bummer is that they prolly won't bring the prices down even by January. Unless they figure it could bring down inflation and win them an election.