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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Rise; Natural Gas Costs Ease
by Tom Moeller  December 1, 2020

• Gasoline prices improve.

• Crude oil costs continue to rise.

• Natural gas prices move lower.

The price of regular gasoline improved last week, rising to $2.12 per gallon (-17.7% y/y) and reversing the prior week's decline to $2.10. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose five cents to $2.22 per gallon last week, its highest level since the third week of March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices increased to an average of $44.72 per barrel (-22.0% y/y) in the week ended November 27 from $41.59 per barrel in the previous week. This was the highest price since in eight months, up from $20.62 in late-March. The price was $45.34 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $47.10 per barrel (-25.5% y/y) in the same week from $44.30 per barrel in the previous week. It increased to $47.96 yesterday.

The price of natural gas price eased to $2.35/mmbtu (-5.4% y/y) in the week ended November 27 from $2.39/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices temporarily spiked to $3.09/mmbtu late in October from roughly half that earlier in the month. The price rose to $2.89 yesterday.

In the four weeks ended November 20, gasoline demand declined 9.2% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 9.1% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 14.5% y/y over the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories increased 1.8% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products were up 4.9% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory of 27.5 days stands substantially below 48.7 days in late-April.

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 11/30/20 11/23/20 11/16/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.12 2.10 2.11 -17.7 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 44.72 41.59 40.75 -22.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.35 2.39 2.75 -5.4 2.57 3.18 2.99
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