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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Do An About-Face; Crude Oil Falls Precipitously
by Tom Moeller  March 17, 2015

After rising earlier this month,gasoline prices posted a 4 cent decline last week to $2.45 cents per gallon. Nevertheless, prices remained 40 cents higher (20.0%) than the low seven weeks ago. Despite the gains, prices remained well below the $3.70 per gallon peak last June. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price slipped 5 cents last week to $2.43 per gallon.

For the week ended March 13, WTI crude oil prices declined to an average $47.69 per barrel (-52.1% y/y). Yesterday, prices fell sharply to $43.88 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics fell to $48.29 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $56.51 per barrel (-47.7% y/y) and were $52.00 yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell to $2.75 (-39.5% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended March 13. Prices were lower at $2.66 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 5.5% y/y and gasoline demand increased 2.8% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 8.5% y/y and gasoline inventories grew 7.2% 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 03/17/15 03/09/15 03/02/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.45 2.49 2.47 -30.8 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 47.69 50.38 49.16 -52.1 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.75 3.04 3.08 -39.5 4.37 3.73 2.7
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