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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Natural Gas Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller  April 30, 2013

The price of regular gasoline inched down last week at $3.52 per gallon (-8.1% y/y). That followed two months of decline from a $3.78 per gallon peak. The norm for this time of year, as driving picks up seasonally, is for prices to begin rising. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price also slipped w/w to $3.31 per gallon.

The price for light sweet crude oil recovered to $91.20 per barrel (-12.3% y/y), still nearly the lowest price since early-December. Yesterday prices improved further to $94.50. Brent crude oil prices recovered to $101.04 per barrel (-14.3% y/y) last week but improved to $103.22 yesterday.

The recent surge in natural gas prices eased somewhat last week. Prices slipped to $4.24 per mmbtu (111.6% y/y) but recovered to $4.27 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline fell 1.7% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by one-quarter y/y while distillate demand was off 2.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 2.9% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and the gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY. 

Weekly Energy Prices 04/29/13 04/22/13 04/15/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.52 3.54 3.54 -8.1 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 91.20 87.97 93.40 -12.3 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.24 4.26 4.14 111.6 2.75 3.99 4.00
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