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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Level Off
by Tom Moeller  February 3, 2015

The seven-month freefall in energy prices took a breather last week. Average gasoline prices moved up 3 cents in the week ended February 2 to $2.07 per gallon, reversing the prior week's decline. Prices peaked at $3.70 per gallon this past June. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price slipped, nevertheless, to a new low of $2.24 per gallon last week from $2.25 during the week prior.

For the week ended January 30, WTI crude oil prices continued to work lower to an average $45.57 per barrel (-53.2% y/y). In the last two days, however, prices rallied to $49.57 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. Some of the recent improvement was to be expected this time of year. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics continued lower to $48.83 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices improved slightly to $46.74 per barrel last week (-57.0% y/y) then to $51.74 yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined to $2.87 (-45.9% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended January 30, then fell to $2.63 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products increased 4.2% y/y and gasoline demand improved 7.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 6.9% y/y, the strongest rise in five years, and gasoline inventories grew 1.7% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and petroleum demand and inventory figures can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and greater detail on prices, demand and production, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 02/02/15 01/26/15 01/19/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.07 2.04 2.07 -37.2 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 45.57 46.54 47.07 -53.2 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.87 2.94 3.06 -45.9 4.37 3.73 2.75
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