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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline, Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  March 11, 2014

Prices in the energy complex firmed last week. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $3.51 (-5.3% y/y) last week, up 22 cents from the low four weeks ago. Nevertheless, prices remained below the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price slipped 2 cents last week to $3.46 per gallon.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil improved last week to $102.91 (13.1% y/y) but remained below the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices slipped to $101.12 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices improved last week to $109.21 per barrel (-0.9% y/y) but yesterday moved back to $108.12 per barrel.

Natural gas prices recovered last week to $6.13 per mmbtu, up roughly three-quarters versus twelve months ago. Yesterday, prices back-pedaled to $4.64 per mmbtu.

The demand for all petroleum products slipped 0.8% y/y last week. Gasoline demand fell 1.5% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, improved 6.4% y/y while distillate demand fell 4.3% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 2.9% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and the petroleum demand and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 03/10/14 03/03/14 02/24/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.51 3.48 3.44 -5.3 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 102.91 102.65 102.93 13.1 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 6.13 5.21 5.98 71.5 3.73 2.75 3.99
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