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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Tick Up; Crude Oil Slips
by Tom Moeller  June 3, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline improved to $3.69 last week (0.8% y/y) versus $3.67 averaged during May. The price remained down, however, from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. To account for seasonal volatility, Haver Analytics constructs factors for adjustment of pump prices. The adjusted cost of gasoline gained three cents to $3.49 per gallon, the highest level since last-April.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil slipped last week to $103.45 (+10.7% y/y). The seasonally adjusted price of $102.25 per barrel remained up sharply from $92.19 four weeks ago. Yesterday, prices fell to $102.47. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $109.64 (+7.7% y/y) and yesterday were $109.96 per barrel.

Natural gas prices improved marginally to $4.52 per mmbtu (10.0% y/y) and were steady at $4.53 yesterday. Prices remained at nearly the lowest level in two months.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 2.2% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 5.4% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 30.6% y/y while distillate demand gained 8.6% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were off 1.6% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 3.5% 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 petroleum demand and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 06/02/14 05/26/14 05/19/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.69 3.67 3.67 1.2 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 103.45 103.82 101.92 10.7 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 4.52 4.49 4.43 10.0 3.73 2.75 3.99
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