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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Meander Sideways
by Tom Moeller  May 29, 2013

Following earlier improvement, gasoline prices lost upward momentum last week. The price of regular gasoline slipped two cents to $3.65 per gallon and remained down just slightly versus last year. Prices remain below the $3.78 per gallon peak reached late in February. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price ticked one penny higher w/w to $3.44 per gallon.

Also, recently moving sideways was the price for light sweet crude oil. It ticked up last week to $95.09 per barrel (4.4% y/y), close to where it's been for most of this year. Nevertheless, the price remained up from the June 2012 low of $80.29. Yesterday prices held at $95.01. Brent crude oil prices were roughly constant last week at $102.49 per barrel (-5.1% y/y) and were $103.89 yesterday.

Natural gas prices jumped last week to $4.14 per mmbtu (59.0% y/y). They rose slightly yesterday at $4.17.

The demand for gasoline fell 3.3% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 7.9% y/y but distillate demand improved 2.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories jumped 9.8% 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 05/27/13 05/20/13 05/13/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.65 3.67 3.60 -0.7 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 95.09 94.97 96.17 4.4 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.14 3.95 3.89 59.0 2.75 3.99 4.00
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