The U.S. Federal Reserve has already increased interest rates several times, most recently in June, with promises to do much more. Rate hikes pose a problem for the oil industry, which has used debt to underpin a drilling boom across the U.S. shale patch. Higher rates could raise the cost of drilling. But low oil prices, and few prospects for a strong rebound in the near-term – and possibly even the medium- and long-term – undercut the rationale for higher rates. After all, inflation is soft, and low commodity prices have a lot to do with that. In fact, the decline of oil prices this year has led to even lower inflation than expected , not just in the U.S., but also in Europe. The Fed has insisted that weak inflation is “ transitory ,” but more people are starting to wonder if that is true. “ There is […]