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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Decline; Natural Gas Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2018

Gasoline prices fell last week to an average $2.61 per gallon (+1.7% y/y) from $2.69 during the prior week. Prices have fallen from an average high of $2.90 in the last six weeks to the lowest level since mid-March. Haver Analytics constructs factors to adjust for the marked seasonal variation in prices. The seasonally-adjusted gasoline price fell three cents last week to $2.67 per gallon.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices fell to an average of $56.93 per barrel (+1.8% y/y) from $61.56 in the prior week. It was the sixth consecutive weekly decline from the peak of $75.11 in early-October and the lowest price since November of last year. Yesterday, prices were $56.76 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined to $66.89 per barrel (+7.5% y/y) last week from $71.56 during the prior week. Yesterday, prices were $66.98 per barrel.

Natural gas prices surged last week to $4.32/mmbtu (40.3% y/y) from $3.58 in the prior week. Prices were up from the low of $2.52 last February and were $4.65 yesterday.

During the latest four weeks, gasoline demand fell 1.5% y/y; total petroleum product demand rose 6.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories strengthened 7.7% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products declined 1.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries has risen 2.4% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 11/19/18 11/13/18 11/05/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price) 2.61 2.69 2.75 1.7 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 56.93 61.56 65.06 1.8 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.32 3.58 3.28 40.3 2.96 2.49 2.62
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