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Economy in Brief

Energy Prices Remain Elevated
by Sandy Batten  December 15, 2020

• Gasoline prices unchanged at nine-week high.

• Crude oil prices rise again to highest level since February.

• Natural gas prices ease but are trending higher.

The price of regular gasoline was unchanged at $2.16 per gallon (-14.9% y/y) in the week ended December 14, the highest price since the week of October 12. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose two cents to $2.30 per gallon last week, its highest level since mid-March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil price increased to an average of $46.05 per barrel (-22.3% y/y) in the week ended December 11 from $45.38 per barrel in the previous week. This was the highest price since the last week of February. The price was $46.99 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $49.35 per barrel (-23.4% y/y) last week from $48.28 per barrel in the previous week. It increased to $50.26 yesterday.

The price of natural gas eased to $2.44/mmbtu (+8.9% y/y) in the week ended December 11 from $2.69/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices have been generally moving up from $1.52/mmbtu since the third week of June. The price rose to $2.69/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended December 4, gasoline demand declined 12.0% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 7.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 14.5% y/y over the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories increased 1.3% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products rose 5.3% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in early December was 29.8 days, up from 26.1 days in early October.

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 12/14/20 12/07/20 11/30/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.16 2.16 2.12 -14.9 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 46.05 45.38 44.44 -22.3 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.44 2.69 2.39 8.9 2.57 3.18 2.99
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