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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil and Gasoline Price Declines Continue
by Tom Moeller  December 16, 2014

WTI crude oil prices declined 9.0% last week to an average $61.11 per barrel (-37.1% y/y) from $67.18 during the prior period. Yesterday prices fell further to $55.91. Prices were 48.0% lower than their June peak of $107.52. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver declined to $64.65 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices fell to $63.93 last week (-41.5% y/y) and were $60.22 yesterday.

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline continued downward last week to an average $2.55 (-21.1% y/y) versus $2.68 during the prior week. The 4.7% weekly decline was the quickest since prices hit their peak in 2011. Prices were down 30.1% versus an interim peak of $3.65 reached this past June. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price declined to $2.83 per gallon.

Natural gas prices declined last week to $3.59 per mmbtu (-16.6% y/y) but ticked up to $3.66 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products gained 1.1% y/y in the week ended December 5 but gasoline demand rose 3.9% y/y, spurred by lower prices. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 2.1% y/y but gasoline inventories declined a lessened 1.1% 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 12/15/14 12/08/14 12/01/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.55 2.68 2.78 -21.1 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 61.11 67.18 72.36 -37.1 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.59 3.65 4.17 -6.6 3.73 2.75 3.99
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