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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Continue to Rise
by Tom Moeller  March 19, 2019

Petroleum product prices rose further last week. Retail gasoline prices increased to $2.55 per gallon (-1.9% y/y), up for the sixth straight week from the low of $2.25. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally-adjusted price has risen to $2.64 per gallon from $2.39 early in January.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices improved to an average of $57.81 (-5.7% y/y) per barrel last week from $56.36 per barrel in the prior week. It was the highest price level since the second week of November and up from late-December's low of $44.55 per barrel. Yesterday, prices rose further to $59.09. Brent crude oil prices strengthened to an average of $67.05 per barrel last week from a late-December low of $52.36. They were $67.46 yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined to an average of $2.88/mmbtu last week (+6.3% y/y) and reversed the prior week's increase to $3.28/mmbtu.

In the four-weeks ending March 8, gasoline demand declined 2.2% y/y, while total petroleum product demand increased 2.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 0.5% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 1.1% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 0.6% 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 3/18/19 3/11/19 3/4/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.55 2.47 2.42 -1.9 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 57.81 56.36 56.13 -5.7 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.88 3.28 2.91 6.3 3.18 2.99 2.51
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