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Economy in Brief

U.S. Natural Gas Prices Surge; Oil & Gasoline Prices Show Little Change
by Tom Moeller  October 27, 2020

• Natural gas prices strengthen as seasonal demand increases; supply tightens.

• Energy product demand declined while inventories rose.

Natural gas prices increased 26.3% (21.8% y/y) to $2.74/mmbtu in the week ended October 23 after a 13.6% rise to $2.17/mmbtu in the previous week. The latest was the highest price since the second week of November 2019. The price was $2.30/mmbtu yesterday.

The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil edged 0.3% higher (-26.6% y/y) to average $40.52 per barrel in the week ended October 23, adding to a 0.4% increase to $40.39 in the previous week. Yesterday, the price was $38.56 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil declined 0.9% (-30.2% y/y) to average $42.29 per barrel versus $42.68 in the previous week. The price was $40.39 per barrel yesterday.

Regular gasoline prices slipped to $2.14 per gallon (-17.4% y/y) in the week ended October 26 from $2.15 in the prior week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for usual seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price edged 0.8% higher to $2.14 per gallon. The reformulated RBOB Regular Gasoline Spot Price held steady at $1.23 per gallon (-34.1% y/y).

In the four weeks ended October 16, gasoline demand declined 8.7% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 12.9% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries weakened 14.1% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories were 1.8% above a year ago, while inventories of all petroleum products rose 6.3% 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 10/26/20 10/19/20 10/12/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.14 2.15 2.17 -17.4 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 40.52 40.39 40.24 -26.6 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.74 2.17 1.91 21.8 2.57 3.18 2.99
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