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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Stabilize; Natural Gas Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  March 21, 2017

Regular gasoline prices held steady last week at $2.32 per gallon (+15.6% y/y). Prices remained lower than the 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price eased to $2.32 per gallon from $2.33 in the prior week and was lower than the $2.71 January high.

WTI crude oil prices averaged $48.32 per barrel last week and were $48.22 yesterday. Prices remained down versus the $54.02 high in the third week of February. Brent crude oil prices fell to $51.58 per barrel last week and were $51.72 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices increased to $2.95/mmbtu last week (66.7% y/y), then were $2.92 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand declined 4.5% y/y, while total petroleum product demand improved 0.3% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 1.4% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 1.0% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 2.4% 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 03/20/17 03/13/17 03/06/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.32 2.32 2.34 15.6 2.31 2.03 2.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 48.32 50.70 53.56 26.1 43.22 48.90 93.64
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.95 2.75 2.53 66.7 2.49 2.62 4.37
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