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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum & Natural Gas Prices Were Little Changed Last Week
by Tom Moeller  July 21, 2020

• Gasoline prices slip.

• Crude oil prices rise slightly.

• Natural gas prices ease.

The price for regular gasoline slipped to $2.19 per gallon (-20.5% y/y) in the week ended July 20 from $2.20 in the previous week. Prices remained near the highest level since just prior to the coronavirus lockdowns. The spot market price held steady at $1.23 per gallon last week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. Seasonally-adjusted prices edged higher to $2.11 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil edged higher to an average of $40.58 per barrel (-28.7% y/y) in the week ended July 17 from $40.44 in the prior week. It was the highest price since early-March when prices touched $45.35 per barrel. Yesterday, the price improved to $40.81 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil rose to $43.40 per barrel (-31.8% y/y) from $43.06. Yesterday, the price was $43.30 per barrel.

The average price of natural gas eased to $1.77/mmbtu (-27.5% y/y) in the week ended July 17 after rising to $1.78 in the previous week. Prices remained below the $4.67/mmbtu peak in late-November 2018. Yesterday, the price declined to $1.71/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ending July 10, gasoline demand declined 8.8% y/y. Total petroleum product demand weakened 13.1% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 19.5% y/y in the past four weeks, but it has risen sharply since mid-May. Gasoline inventories rose 6.8% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 7.8% 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 07/20/20 07/13/20 07/06/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.19 2.20 2.18 -20.5 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 40.58 40.44 39.85 -28.7 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.77 1.78 1.68 -27.5 2.57 3.18 2.99
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