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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Range-bound
by Gerald D. Cohen  November 10, 2020

• Crude oil prices rise to $37.82; remain in $37 to $43 range since June.

• Gasoline prices edge down.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased to an average of $37.82 per barrel (-33.4% y/y) in the week ended November 6. It has been range-bound between $37 and $43 since June. Brent crude oil prices rose to an average $40.07 per barrel (-35.7% y/y) last week. Oil prices gained on Monday as news about a potential COVID vaccine spurred optimism about demand.

Regular gasoline prices slipped to $2.096 per gallon (-19.8% y/y) in the week ended November 9. This is the lowest price since mid-June, though prices have been in a very tight range during that time. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for usual seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price ticked down two cents to $2.103 per gallon last week.

Natural gas prices fell to $2.78/mmbtu (-1.1% y/y) in the week ended November 6, near the level of two weeks ago, but up over a dollar from a month ago. Daily prices declined steadily during the last week.

In the four weeks ended October 30, gasoline demand declined 10.9% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell the same amount. Crude oil input to refineries was down 15.1% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories were up 4.8% above a year ago and stocks of all petroleum products were 5.2% higher y/y. The ratio of oil inventories-to-demand jumped to a record 143 days in mid-April. In late October they stood at a still-elevated 110 days.

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 11/09/20 11/02/20 10/26/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.10 2.11 2.14 -19.8 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 37.82 37.39 40.49 -33.4 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.78 3.09 2.74 -1.1 2.57 3.18 2.99
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