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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  April 30, 2019

Retail gasoline prices increased five cents last week to $2.89 per gallon (1.4% y/y) after rising one penny during the prior week. It was the highest level since early-October. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally-adjusted price rose one cent to $2.80 per gallon after falling three cents during the prior week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rebounded to an average of $65.26 per barrel last week (-3.9% y/y) after slipping to $63.80 during the prior week. Oil prices had plunged to an 18-month low of $44.55 at the end of last year. Yesterday, prices eased to $63.50 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices strengthened to an average of $73.82 per barrel last week (-0.7% y/y), the highest level since early-November. The price was $71.43 yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell to an average of $2.57/mmbtu last week (-8.2% y/y) from $2.63/mmbtu during the prior week. The price was the lowest since February 2018 and remained below the early-March high of $3.28/mmbtu.

In the four-weeks ending April 19, gasoline demand rose 0.9% y/y, while total petroleum product demand declined 1.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories declined 4.6% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 2.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 4.3% 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 4/29/19 4/22/19 4/15/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.89 2.84 2.83 1.4 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 65.26 63.80 64.09 -3.9 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.57 2.63 2.72 -8.2 3.15 2.96 2.49
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