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The Impact of Reduced Oil Prices on the Transportation Sector. The precipitous drop in oil prices is among the most significant—and unexpected—forces in the global economy today.

The Impact of Reduced Oil Prices on the Transportation Sector

Thanks to a combination of increased production (especially in the U.S.) and muted demand, the spot price of West Texas Intermediate crude fell from US$109 in July 2014 to $45 in January 2015, and has since rebounded to above $50. The winners are obvious: consumers, owners of gas-guzzling vehicles, energy-intensive industries. So, too, are the apparent losers: oil exploration and services firms, countries that are dependent on fossil fuels, manufacturers of hybrid cars. The vital transportation sector has been a beneficiary of lower oil prices.

Not only will it experience direct savings derived from lower fuel prices, but the expected uptick in consumer spending will positively impact global trade, and, consequently, transportation. Airlines Airlines stand to gain the most from reduced prices, given that roughly a third of their costs are associated with fuel. Rail. UK inflation rate rises to 11-month high in December. Image copyright PA The UK's inflation rate rose to an 11-month high in December, with a sharp rise in air fares offsetting falling food and clothing prices.

UK inflation rate rises to 11-month high in December

Wealth of richest 1% 'equal to other 99%' Image copyright Getty Images.

Wealth of richest 1% 'equal to other 99%'

China economy grows at slowest pace in 25 years, latest GDP figures show. China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in a quarter of a century in 2015, data released on Tuesday showed, increasing pressure on Beijing to address fears of a prolonged slowdown and ease the jitters affecting global markets.

China economy grows at slowest pace in 25 years, latest GDP figures show

IMF cuts global growth forecasts. The International Monetary Fund has added to concerns about the health of the global economy by cutting its growth forecasts for the next two years and warning that recovery from the financial crisis could be derailed altogether if key challenges are mishandled.

IMF cuts global growth forecasts

The Washington-based body said world output would be 0.2 points lower in 2016 and 2017 compared with forecasts made just three months ago – and that the risks to its predictions were to the downside. In an update to its World Economic Outlook, the IMF said growth was put at 3.4% this year and 3.6% in 2017. It said central banks should continue to boost growth and that finance ministries should bolster investment spending where possible.

It also warned that a “tide of refugees” was putting the EU under strain and that action was needed to ensure that migrants could find jobs. European shares post sharp falls in early trading. Image copyright Getty Images European shares sank in early trading as the continued slide in oil prices unsettled investors.

European shares post sharp falls in early trading

In early trading London's FTSE 100 was down 3%, Germany's Dax was down 3% and the Cac-40 in Paris was down 3.4%. Shares in Shell tumbled almost 6% after it said that annual profits would be slightly below City expectations. Shell warns of 50% cut in profits amid plunging oil price. Shell has warned that its fourth-quarter profits may be 50% lower than last time with full year write-offs as high as $7bn (£5bn), underlining the damage being wreaked on the industry by low crude prices.

Shell warns of 50% cut in profits amid plunging oil price

In the first preliminary results to be reported this year by any of the large oil companies, Shell said it expected earnings to come in at between $1.6bn and $1.9bn and full-year numbers as low as $10.4bn. An EU explainer for the easily bored: the cost to the UK. OK.

An EU explainer for the easily bored: the cost to the UK

I know what the institutions are, get the whole free trade bloc thing, and I totally appreciate maternity leave. How much does this actually cost? The EU budget is the one subject guaranteed to leave even the most hardened Brussels correspondent cry-laughing hysterically while downing La Chouffe in the Hairy Canary* at 2am. Back of an envelope? If you want a lot of figures from a wide range of sources, Europe: In or Out?

Lies, damned lies and statistics? *glug glug glug* Mmmmm, Chouffe. Mmmmhmmm. Still sounds like a lot... What's Colin Farrell got to do with it? Sounds fancy. But I've got a senstitive stomach! Happy St Patrick's Day! Is Britain better off in or out of Europe? The report unearths one profoundly important truth: if we decide to leave the EU, whether we flourish or fail will depend on the political and economic decisions we take in the wake of departure.

Is Britain better off in or out of Europe?

Of itself, leaving the EU will guarantee neither success nor failure. If we leave and follow the path of protection, xenophobia and isolation we will indeed face the economic decline so feared by Europhiles. Open Europe estimates that, under the protectionist scenario, leaving the EU would cost 2.2 per cent of GDP by 2030. Alternatively, if we embrace free trade, roll back damaging regulation, and take a balanced approach to economic migration, then we could be more successful outside the EU than within. In such a scenario, we could add at least 1.6 per cent to GDP by 2030. There are many political reasons people want to leave the EU.