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Economy in Brief

U.S. Natural Gas Prices Continue to Rise; Oil Down Sharply; Gasoline Little Changed
by Sandy Batten  November 3, 2020

• Natural gas prices rose further as seasonal demand increased and supply tightened.

• Energy product demand declined while inventories rose.

Natural gas prices posted another marked weekly increase in the week ended October 30, rising 12.8% w/w (+17.9% y/y) to $3.09/mmbtu following a 26.3% w/w jump to $2.74/mmbtu in the previous week. This was the fourth consecutive weekly increase. Over this period, the price has risen 87% to its highest level since early March 2019.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slumped 7.6% w/w (-32.3% y/y) to $37.42 per barrel in the week ended October 30 from $40.49 per barrel in the previous week. Yesterday, the price was $36.81 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil declined 7.0% (-35.3% y/y) to average $39.35 per barrel versus $42.29 in the previous week. The price was $39.16 per barrel yesterday.

Regular gasoline prices slipped to $2.11 per gallon (-18.9% y/y) in the week ended November 2 from $2.14 in the prior week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for usual seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price edged down 0.9% w/w to $2.12 per gallon from $2.14 per gallon. The reformulated RBOB Regular Gasoline Spot Price fell to $1.21 per gallon (-43.4% y/y).

In the four weeks ended October 23, gasoline demand declined 10.2% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 11.3% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries weakened 14.5% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories were up 2.8% from a year ago, and inventories of all petroleum products rose 6.2% 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 11/02/20 10/26/20 10/19/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.11 2.14 2.15 -18.9 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 37.42 40.49 40.39 -32.3 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.09 2.74 2.17 17.9 2.57 3.18 2.99
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