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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Prices Touch Seven-Year Low; Gasoline Prices Ease
by Tom Moeller  December 8, 2015

WTI crude oil costs declined to $40.40 (-39.9% y/y) last week, and yesterday dropped to a seven-year low of $37.65 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices fell w/w to $42.41 per barrel last week and were $40.65 yesterday. WTI prices reached $107.23 in June 2014.

Gasoline prices at the pump declined last week to $2.05 per gallon, down one penny from the prior week. Prices were down 23.4% y/y and roughly equaled the January low of $2.04. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price declined to $2.20 per gallon. Moving sharply lower was the spot market gasoline price. It fell to $1.34 per gallon (-29.8% y/y).

Natural gas prices improved last week to $2.12 per mmbtu (-41.8% y/y) and were $2.03 yesterday.

Price declines occurred as the supply of petroleum products continued to outpace demand. Gasoline inventories increased 4.0% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products rose 10.4% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 1.5% y/y during the last four weeks. Gasoline demand eased 0.6% y/y last week and demand for all petroleum products declined 1.6% 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 12/07/15 11/30/15 11/23/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.05 2.06 2.09 -23.4 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 40.40 40.49 40.62 -39.9 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.12 2.10 2.12 -41.9 4.37 3.73 2.75
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