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Economy in Brief

Weekly Gasoline Prices Are Flat Again
by Tom Moeller December 1, 2009

Gasoline prices continued their sideways movement last week. The pump price for regular gasoline of $2.63 per gallon equaled the June average. Moreover, during the six months, prices moved in a tight range between $2.47 and $2.69. Nevertheless, gasoline prices remain up from the December low of $1.61. Yesterday, wholesale gasoline prices began the week roughly equal to last week's average. The figures are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY & DAILY databases.

Breaking away from the recently firm pricing pattern, the price for a barrel of light sweet crude (WTI) oil moved down last week to $76.10 which was the lowest level in one month. Still, prices were up from the December low of $32.37. Yesterday, the spot market price for light sweet crude oil moved slightly higher to $77.28 per barrel.

Behind the stabilization in gasoline prices is a leveling of past gains in gasoline demand. Last week, demand posted a 0.2% increase versus one year ago versus a 3.9% increase at the beginning of last month. Breaking away from earlier y/y strength, the demand for residual fuel oil fell 0.4% y/y while distillate demand continued weak and fell 10.7% y/y.ยท Natural gas prices remained weak last week at an average $3.62 per mmbtu (-45.7% y/y). They remained down by two-thirds from the high reached in early-July of last year of $13.19/mmbtu.

The weekly energy price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database while the daily figures are in DAILY. The gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY.

Small business lending is yesterday's House testimony by Jon D. Greenlee, Associate Director, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation at the Federal Reserve Board and it can be found here

Weekly Prices 11/30/09 11/23/09 11/16/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.63 2.64 2.63 45.2% 3.25 2.80 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 76.10 78.36 78.21 45.0% 100.16 72.25 66.12
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