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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Reach New Lows
by Tom Moeller  October 14, 2014

Petroleum prices continue to move lower. The cost of a gallon of regular gasoline fell sharply last week to $3.21 (-4.4% y/y) from $3.30, its least expensive since November 2013. Additional weakness seemed possible as the N.Y. spot market price for gasoline plunged to $2.30 per gallon yesterday (-15.9% y/y) from $2.45 averaged last week. To account for seasonal patterns, Haver Analytics constructs factors for adjustment of pump prices. The adjusted price declined to $3.20 per gallon from $3.28.

Increased OPEC oil production in the face of declining demand has generated extreme downward pressure on crude oil prices. WTI crude oil prices dropped to an average $87.62 last week from $91.44 during the prior period. Yesterday prices fell to $85.74. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver declined to $91.31 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices fell to $90.63 per barrel (-17.9% y/y) and slid to $88.13 yesterday.

Natural gas prices also retreated last week to an average $3.87 per mmbtu (+4.8% y/y). They remained at that level yesterday

The demand for all petroleum products increased 0.7% y/y in the week ended October 3. Despite the rise, however, demand remained 4.0% below its early-November 2013 peak. Following four consecutive weeks of decline, gasoline demand was essentially unchanged w/w but was down 1.3% y/y. Demand was 5.4% below its August peak. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products gained 0.3% y/y but gasoline inventories were down 4.6% y/y and off 10.9% since early this year.

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 10/13/14 10/06/14 09/29/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.21 3.30 3.35 -4.4 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 87.62 91.44 93.15 -14.6 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.87 4.05 3.88 4.8 3.73 2.75 3.99
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