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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Prices Fall Sharply; Gasoline Prices Ease
by Tom Moeller  August 25, 2015

WTI crude oil costs remained under pressure last week and declined to an average $41.38 per barrel (-56.4% y/y), down from $107.23 in May 2014. Prices fell further yesterday to $38.24 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 high of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, declined last week to $39.47 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined w/w to $47.10 per barrel and were $42.44 yesterday.

Gasoline prices at the pump fell back to an average $2.64 per gallon (-23.7% y/y) last week. Prices were at the lowest level since late-April. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price fell seven cents to $2.53 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices fell w/w to $1.68 per gallon (-37.5% y/y).

Natural gas prices eased last week to $2.72 per mmbtu (-29.0% y/y) and were $2.76 yesterday.

Gasoline demand rose 6.5% y/y last week while demand for all petroleum products rose 2.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories eased 0.2% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 9.0% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) grew 3.1% y/y during the last four weeks.

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.

The Interplay of Public Pensions and the Broad Economy is the title of yesterday's speech by Atlanta Fed President & CEO Dennis Lockhart. It can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 08/24/15 08/17/15 08/10/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.64 2.72 2.63 -23.7 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 41.38 43.20 44.94 -56.4 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.72 2.87 2.80 -29.0 4.37 3.73 2.7
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