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Economy in Brief

Natural Gas Prices Down Sharply
by Tom Moeller February 8, 2006

Record warm temperatures in the U.S. have helped lower the price of natural gas this year. Since a high of $14.51 per mmbtu during the middle of December prices fell 42% through last week to $8.40 and were down again yesterday at $7.76.

Through early February, the number of heating degree days in the U.S. was down 26% from one year earlier, more than double the y/y decline during the warm winter of 2004. The 662 heating degree days during this past January was well below the 750-1,250 range of the last 50 years.

The decline in gas prices has been accompanied by lower oil prices which yesterday fell to $63.10 per barrel for WTI crude. That was down from the January high of $68.36.

Spot gasoline prices also fell yesterday to $1.53 per gallon, off twenty cents from the January average of $1.73. In addition, fuel oil prices were lower at $1.61 per gallon versus a January average $1.75.

Two Hurricanes Too Many from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

Weekly Prices 02/03/06 12/30/05 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Natural Gas (per mmbtu) $8.40 $9.89 34.0% $8.68 $5.89 $5.47
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