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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Continue Broad-Based Decline
by Tom Moeller  January 6, 2015

Energy prices remained under pressure last week as they have since last Spring. Average gasoline prices declined another 9 cents in the week ended January 5 to $2.21 a gallon. Prices have fallen by one-third during the last year and by 40% since their June high of $3.70 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price declined to $2.47 per gallon last week from $2.59.

Crude oil prices also continued lower, falling to an average $53.39 per barrel (-44.7% y/y) in the week ended January 2 from $55.58 during the prior week. Yesterday, prices fell further to $50.04 per barrel. These levels compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics declined to $57.82 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices fell to $55.90 last week (-49.2% y/y) and were $51.08 yesterday.

Natural gas prices also fell 30.4% y/y but rebounded in the week ended January 2 to $3.02 per mmbtu, and yesterday rose further to $3.21.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 2.3% y/y in the week ended December 26 and gasoline demand rose 4.6% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 4.6% y/y, the strongest rise in five years, and gasoline inventories grew 3.8% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and petroleum demand and inventory figures can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and greater detail on prices, demand and production, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 01/05/15 12/29/14 12/22/14 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.21 2.30 2.40 -33.6 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 53.39 55.58 55.89 -44.7 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.02 2.88 3.60 -30.4 4.37 3.73 2.75
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