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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Continue Downward
by Tom Moeller  November 5, 2013

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell another 2 cents last week to $3.27 (-6.5% y/y), hitting the lowest level since the fourth week of December last year, down from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached late in February. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price of $3.40 per gallon remained below the February peak of $3.94.

Light sweet crude oil prices also have been moving lower. The per barrel cost of WTI crude fell to $96.96 (12.9% y/y) last week, down from $108.77 two months ago. Yesterday, prices continued lower to $94.62. Brent crude oil prices also fell last week to $107.77 per barrel (-0.7% y/y) and they remained down from the February high of $118.09. Yesterday, prices fell further to $105.23 per barrel.

Natural gas prices also recently have been under pressure. They fell back last week to $3.56 per mmbtu (+3.3% y/y) and were $3.39 yesterday, down from the April peak of $4.26.

Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products remain plentiful, up 1.6% y/y. The demand for all petroleum products rose 1.0% y/y. Gasoline demand gained 3.2% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by nearly one half y/y but distillate demand gained 1.8% 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 and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 11/04/13 10/28/13 10/21/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.27 3.29 3.36 -6.5 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 96.96 97.66 101.51 12.9 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 3.56 3.68 3.77 3.3 2.75 3.99 4.00
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