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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  June 17, 2014

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil increased last week to $105.59 (9.6% y/y), the highest level since last September. The seasonally adjusted price of $105.19 per barrel, generated by Haver Analytics, remained up sharply from $92.19 in early May. Yesterday, prices improved further to $106.90. Brent crude oil prices rose last week to $111.03 (7.5% y/y) and yesterday were $113.31 per barrel.

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline nudged up to $3.69 last week (1.7% y/y). The price has been near the current level since April and remained down 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 rose four cents to $3.54 per gallon, the highest level since late-February.

Natural gas prices slipped to $4.58 per mmbtu (+21.3% y/y) but recovered to $4.70 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 1.6% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 2.8% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined by nearly one-half y/y while distillate demand edged 1.1% y/y higher. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were off 1.4% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 3.6% 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 06/16/14 06/09/14 06/02/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.69 3.67 3.69 1.7 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 105.59 102.84 103.62 9.6 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 4.58 4.60 4.52 21.3 3.73 2.75 3.99
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