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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Continued to Rise
by Sandy Batten  January 19, 2022

• Gasoline prices edged up to highest in five weeks.

• Crude oil prices rose again to highest in nine weeks.

• Natural gas prices soared on top of big increase in the previous week.

Retail gasoline prices edged up 0.3% w/w to $3.31 per gallon (39.0% y/y) in the week ended January 17 from $3.30 per gallon in the previous week. It was the highest price since the second week of December. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price was unchanged at $3.40 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased 4.8% w/w (54.5% y/y) to $81.57 per barrel in the week of January 14, the highest weekly price since the week of November 12. This was the fourth consecutive weekly rise. Yesterday, the price rose to $85.43 per barrel, its highest since October 25, 2021. The average price of Brent crude oil rose 3.9% w/w (50.0% y/y) to $83.85 in the week of January 14, the highest price since the week of October 29. The price rose further to $87.90 per barrel yesterday, its highest since October 13, 2014.

The price of natural gas soared 16.3% m/m (56.7% y/y) to $4.42/mmbtu in the week of January 14 on top of a 6.7% w/w jump in the previous week. While this is the fifth weekly increase in the past six weeks, the current price remains well below the recent high of $5.87/mmbtu reached in early October 2021. Yesterday, the price increased to $4.55/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended January 7, growth in gasoline demand slowed to 11.8% y/y from 15.2% y/y in the previous week. Growth in demand for all petroleum products slowed to 10.8% y/y in the same week from 14.4% y/y in the prior week. Crude oil input to refineries rose 9.8% y/y, down from 10.9% y/y in the previous week. Gasoline inventories fell 1.9% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 10.1% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending January 7 rose to 27.7 days, its highest level since March 2021, from 25.6 days. The supply of crude oil slipped to 26.3 days in the same week from 26.5 days in the prior week. The latest reading was the lowest level since January 2020.

These data are reported by the Energy Information Administration of 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 are in USENERGY.

Weekly Energy Prices 01/17/22 01/10/22 01/03/22 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.31 3.30 3.28 39.0 3.28 2.24 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 81.57 77.86 76.08 54.5 67.74 39.43 56.91
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.42 3.80 3.56 56.7 3.89 2.03 2.57
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