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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Reverse Earlier Declines 
by Tom Moeller June 22, 2010

Petroleum prices have firmed recently. The pump price for regular gasoline of $2.74 per gallon last week was its highest in four weeks and prices were up more than three-quarters since the December 2008 low. Holding firm yesterday was the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline at $2.07 which was the highest level since early last month. The figures are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY & DAILY databases.

Continuing higher last week to $76.74 was the average price for a barrel of light sweet crude (WTI). Nevertheless the price remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday crude prices moved higher to $77.82 per barrel, up from the May 24th low of $66.88.

U.S. natural gas prices also have strengthened of late to an average $5.10 per mmbtu (26.7% y/y), the highest level since early-March. Nevertheless, prices remained down from a high of $6.50 early in January.

Demand for gasoline eased 0.7% last week versus one year ago and that compares to a 0.9% increase last month. The demand for residual fuel oil fell a sharp 14.2% versus last year while distillate demand continued to surge by 12.5% y/y. That's improved from a 12.3% decline during February. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products continued to slip versus last year but still were up sharply from the early-2010 low.

The energy price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database while the daily figures are in DAILY. The gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Prices 06/21/10 06/14/10 06/07/10 y/y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.74 2.70 2.73 1.9% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 76.74 73.41 72.89 8.7% 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 5.10 4.75 4.46 26.7% 3.95 8.88 6.97
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