How the Crisis in Egypt May Impact Your Wallet

Crisis in EgyptWith political tensions in Egypt on the rise, there are not only long-term worldwide ramifications -- particularly if the crisis continues and cannot be contained -- but shorter-termer implications for you and your wallet.

According to commodity expert, Eric Bolling, a former commodities trader and director of the New York Mercantile Exchange who is currently the host ofFox Business' Follow The Money, here's how - and where - you'll feel it:At the Pump

Egypt itself isn't a major oil producer but it is home to the Suez Canal, which serves as a shipping route for oil from the Persian Gulf. In fact, some two million barrels of oil (the equivalent of about 3% of global oil production) passes through the Suez Canal every day, and while that may seem small in the larger scheme of things, it's enough to put everyone on edge.

"The supply-balance issue is so delicate that even the fear of disruptions makes prices spike," says Bolling, "but the bigger issue is whether the protests will spill over to Saudi, which is adjacent to the Canal, or other regions."

That would put upward pressure on prices at the pump, which are currently hovering in the $3-a-gallon range, according to AAA. And while that's a whopping 43 cents-a-gallon higher than the same time last year, brace yourself for prices to go as high as $4 a gallon. "We're going to see that again," says Bolling, "for the first time since 2008."

At the Grocery Store

Yes, the overall inflation rate has been low these past few years, but unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely been noticing how much more your groceries cost. And while the recent spike in price of many food commodities -- from wheat to corn to barley to sugar to coffee -- is due primarily to global crop failures (Weather conditions, including droughts in Brazil and Russia, heavy rains in Canada and Europe, and dry conditions in many parts of the U.S. over the summer have taken a toll), Bolling says the unrest in Egypt could trigger more supply-demand pressure. That would result in your groceries costing more, says Bolling, "everything from rice, to cereal, beef and butter."

At the Mall

Egypt is a significant exporter of cotton (Trade with the U.S. accounted for more than 30% of the cotton export business during the first half of last year) and if exports are curbed, everything from jeans to t-shirts to sheets could cost more.

Keep in mind global cotton prices are already at their highest levels in about a century and a half. That's partially because poor weather has destroyed fields in places such as India, Pakistan and China - all major cotton producers - and, in turn, diminished global supply. Factor in the fact that cotton is a commodity, and it, like other commodities, has been going up and will continue to, says Bolling.

At Home

It's been a long, cold winter (and it's only the beginning of February) and if you're one of the 8.1 million households in the U.S. using home heating oil then you know that heating costs are rising fast. That's because when crude oil prices go up, heating oil prices do, too. In fact , today's average retail heating oil price in the Northeast is already 5 cents higher per gallon than Monday's average price. What's a weary homeowner to do? "Lock in the prices going forward," says Bolling. Meantime: conserve, conserve, conserve. That's the key to saving.
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