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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Market Calms Down, but Gasoline Prices Rise
by Tom Moeller  September 24, 2019

The surge in crude oil prices after last week's attack on Saudi Arabian oil fields has given way more or less to stability. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to levels close to $58.00 per barrel this week after ending at $63.10 per barrel last Monday. Nevertheless, the price remains elevated from the $51.09 daily low early in August. Yesterday, the price was $58.64 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil settled this week into a range of roughly $64.00-$65.00 per barrel following its jump to $68.79 last Monday. Early in August, the price had fallen to a low of $56.51. Yesterday, the price was $64.56.

In the week ended September 23, the U.S. pump price for gasoline jumped to $2.65 per gallon (-6.7% y/y). It was the highest level since early-August and up 10 cents from the prior week's six month low of $2.55. Prices remained up from the February low of $2.25 per gallon. Haver Analytics adjusts these price figures for seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price increased to $2.55 per gallon from $2.43 in the previous week.

The price of natural gas settled at $2.63 per mmbtu (-13.2% y/y) in the week ended September 23 after rising from $2.46/mmbtu two weeks earlier. This remained the highest price since late-May.

For the four weeks ending September 13, U.S. gasoline demand eased 1.8% y/y. Total petroleum product demand was fairly steady y/y. U.S. gasoline inventories fell 1.9% y/y while inventories of all petroleum products increased 2.3% y/y. Crude oil input to U.S. refineries fell 1.4% y/y.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. More detail on prices, demand, production and inventories, including regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 9/23/2010 9/16/2010 9/9/2019 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.65 2.55 2.55 -6.7 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 59.34 56.17 55.73 -15.6 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.63 2.64 2.46 -13.2 3.18 2.99 2.51
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