Although falling oil prices lower inflation, the Federal Reserve tends to view that as a fleeting effect that would not alter its underlying judgments about policy. Nonetheless, Dudley said, “the slump in oil prices may also help to persuade” the European and Japanese central banks to implement further monetary easing as prices remain subdued.

The consequences of the decline in oil prices are also evident in politics and pocketbooks.

At current prices, the annual revenue of OPEC members would shrink by $590 billion, money that will instead stay within the borders of the world’s biggest oil importers, led by the United States, China and Japan.

The size of the global economy will “easily be between 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent higher as a result of the decline in oil prices,” wrote Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist for London-based Capital Economics.