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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  June 2, 2020

• Gasoline prices edge higher to eight-week high.

• Crude oil prices continue to increase.

• Natural gas prices ease.

As parts of the economy slowly reopened, the pump price for a gallon of gasoline edged up to $1.97 (-29.7% y/y) in the week ended June 1 from $1.96 per gallon in the previous week. It was the fifth consecutive week of increase. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. The seasonally-adjusted price rose to $1.84 per gallon, the highest level in two months.

The spot price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased to an average $34.18 per barrel (-40.0% y/y) in the week ended May 29. Yesterday, the price was $35.44 per barrel. This remained less-than-half the weekly high of $75.11 in early-October 2018. The price of Brent crude oil was little changed at $33.70 per barrel. Yesterday, the price increased to $36.74 per barrel.

Over-supply weakened the average price of natural gas to $1.77/mmbtu (-33.5% y/y) in the week ended May 29 from $1.78 during the prior week. The price of natural gas remained down from $4.67/mmbtu late in November 2018. Yesterday, the price declined to $1.59/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ending May 22, gasoline demand fell 25.7% y/y, while total petroleum product demand fell 20.1% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 22.8% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories rose 10.4% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 6.9% 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. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 06/01/20 05/25/20 05/18/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 1.97 1.96 1.88 -29.7 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 34.18 33.01 26.41 -40.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.77 1.78 1.63 -33.5 2.57 3.18 2.99
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