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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Continue to Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 10, 2015

Gasoline prices bumped up another 2 cents last week to $2.49 cents per gallon. The rise now totals 44 cents (21.7%) from the low 6 weeks ago. Despite the gains, prices remained well below the $3.70 per gallon peak reached last June. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price slipped 1 cent last week to $2.48 per gallon and increased 24 cents (10.7%) from the low, indicating that much of recent pump price rise was to be expected.

For the week ended March 6, WTI crude oil prices improved to an average $50.38 per barrel (-51.1% y/y), up from the low of $45.72. Yesterday, prices were fairly steady at $50.00 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics edged higher to $50.90 per barrel last week, up from the low of 48.99. Brent crude oil prices increased last week to $60.12 per barrel (-44.9% y/y) and were $58.67 yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell to $3.04 (-50.5% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended March 6. Prices fell back to $2.72 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products strengthened 7.7% y/y and gasoline demand increased 4.0% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 8.2% y/y and gasoline inventories grew 4.8% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The petroleum demand and inventory figures are from the Oil & Gas Journal Weekly. These data 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 03/09/15 03/02/15 02/23/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.49 2.47 2.33 -29.2 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 50.38 49.16 51.69 -51.1 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.04 3.08 2.96 -50.5 4.37 3.73 2.7
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