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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Prices Decline; Natural Gas Costs Surge
by Tom Moeller  November 27, 2018

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices fell to an average of $53.90 per barrel last week (-6.2% y/y) from $56.94 in the prior week. It was the seventh consecutive weekly decline from the peak of $75.11 in early-October and the lowest price since October 2017. Yesterday, prices were $51.63 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined to $62.85 per barrel (-0.3% y/y) last week from $66.89 during the prior week. Yesterday, prices were $60.49 per barrel.

Natural gas prices continued to strengthen last week to $4.70/mmbtu (56.1% y/y) from $4.23 in the prior week. Prices were up from the low of $2.52 last February.

Gasoline prices declined to an average $2.54 per gallon (+0.2% y/y) from $2.61 during last week. Prices have fallen from an average high of $2.90 early last month, to the lowest level since January. Haver Analytics constructs factors to adjust for the marked seasonal variation in prices. The seasonally-adjusted gasoline price fell four cents last week to $2.63 per gallon.

During the latest four weeks, gasoline demand fell 2.6% y/y; total petroleum product demand rose 6.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories strengthened 7.1% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products declined 1.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries has risen 0.5% 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 11/26/18 11/19/18 11/13/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price) 2.54 2.61 2.69 0.2 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 53.90 56.94 61.56 -6.2 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.70 4.23 3.58 56.1 2.96 2.49 2.62
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