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Economy in Brief

Energy Prices Mixed
by Tom Moeller January 23, 2006

Crude oil prices strengthened last week on market worry that supplies from Iran could be disrupted. Iran produces roughly 4 million barrels of crude oil per day, a bit more than 15% of the OPEC's total and about 6% of the world's total.

Concerns about supplies from Nigeria and Venezuela added further to the rise in the price of Brent Crude Oil to nearly $65 per barrel on Friday. The latest was the highest level since last year's record daily high of $66.99 reached in early September.

The spot market price for regular unleaded gasoline rose in sympathy to $1.75 per gallon, up 22% from the weekly average low of $1.43 in mid-November of last year.

Warm winter weather, conversely, eased the earlier pressure which had lifted the price of natural gas to a record high of $15/mmbtu in early December. At $8.45 prices were off 40% from that high but still were up roughly one third from last year.

Oil Prices, Monetary Policy and the Macroeconomy from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is available here.

Do Oil Futures Prices Help Predict Future Oil Prices? from the federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Daily Energy Prices 1/20/06 Y/Y Chg. 2005 2004 2003
Brent Crude Oil ($/bbl.) $64.91 42% $54.75 $38.33 $28.76
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) $8.45 31% $8.68 $5.90 $5.48
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