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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum & Natural Gas Prices Remain Range-Bound
by Tom Moeller  July 28, 2020

• Gasoline prices slip.

• Crude oil prices rise slightly.

• Natural gas prices weaken.

Regular gasoline prices eased to $2.18 per gallon (-19.9% y/y) in the week ended July 27 from $2.19 in the previous week. The cost, nevertheless, remained near the highest level since just prior to the COVID-15 lockdowns. The spot market price eased  to $1.22 per gallon last week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. Seasonally-adjusted prices remained at $2.11 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose to an average of $41.37 per barrel (-26.2% y/y) in the week ended July 24 from $40.57 in the prior week. It was the highest price since early-March when prices touched $45.35 per barrel. Yesterday, the price was $41.60 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil edged up to $43.57 per barrel (-30.6% y/y) from $43.40. Yesterday, the price was $43.39 per barrel.

The average price of natural gas fell to $1.72/mmbtu (-25.3% y/y) in the week ended July 24 after slipping to $1.77 in the previous week. Prices remained below the $4.67/mmbtu peak in late-November 2018. Yesterday, the price strengthened to $1.85/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ending July 17, gasoline demand declined 9.5% y/y. Total petroleum product demand weakened 14.6% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 17.6% y/y in the past four weeks, but it has risen sharply since mid-May. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.6% 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 07/27/20 07/20/20 07/13/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.18 2.19 2.20 -19.9 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 41.37 40.57 40.44 -26.2 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.72 1.77 1.78 -25.3 2.57 3.18 2.99
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