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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  April 21, 2015

Gasoline prices increased last week to an average $2.49 cents per gallon. Prices were at their highest level since the middle of December, but remained down by roughly one-third versus a year ago. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price rose last week to $2.39 per gallon.

During the week ended April 17, WTI crude oil prices rose to an average $54.82 per barrel (-47.3% y/y). This was the most expensive since late-December. Yesterday, prices improved to $56.38 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, gained last week to $50.65 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $59.12 per barrel last week (-45.8% y/y) and were $61.20 yesterday.

Natural gas prices slipped to $2.58 (-43.9% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended April 17. Prices slipped to $2.56 yesterday.

Gasoline inventories grew 8.4% y/y, but they have fallen sharply during the last two months. Inventories of all petroleum products, however, increased 9.4% y/y and their level continues to surge. Gasoline demand inched 0.7% higher y/y and improved during the last two months. Demand for all petroleum products rose 4.3% y/y but it too has slackened sharply this year.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The petroleum demand and inventory figures are from the Oil & Gas Journal Weekly. These data 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 04/20/15 04/13/15 04/06/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.49 2.41 2.41 -32.4 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 54.82 51.78 48.95 -47.3 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.58 2.63 2.61 -43.9 4.37 3.73 2.7
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