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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Decline While Natural Gas Prices Increase
by Tom Moeller  August 9, 2016

Regular gasoline prices averaged $2.15 per gallon last week (-18.2% y/y), down a penny from the week earlier. Prices were 25 cents lower than early last month, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices were down versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price was little-changed at $2.02 per gallon, nearly the lowest level since mid-March.

WTI crude oil prices declined $40.82 last week (-9.2% y/y) from $41.83 averaged in the prior week. They remained up, however, from February's daily low of $26.21 per barrel. Yesterday, prices nudged higher to $43.02 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined w/w to $40.88 per barrel and were $43.24 yesterday.

Prices for natural gas strengthened to $2.86 per mmbtu (2.1% y/y) last week, then were $2.83 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 2.2% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products edged 0.6% higher y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 9.9% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased a diminished 5.9% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) eased 0.6% y/y in the last four weeks.

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 08/08/16 08/01/16 07/25/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.15 2.16 2.18 -18.2 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 40.82 41.83 44.59 -9.2 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.86 2.81 2.76 2.1 2.62 4.37 3.73
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