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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Price Decline Continues
by Tom Moeller  January 26, 2016

Gasoline prices have weakened to the lowest level since January 2009. The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline declined last week to an average $1.86 (-9.2% y/y), down from $1.91 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price fell to $2.14 per gallon. The spot market gasoline price fell to $1.06 per gallon (-20.9% y/y) as of last week.

WTI crude oil costs also fell as demand remained soft with increased shale oil production. Prices averaged $29.19 per barrel last week (-37.2% y/y), down from $34.64 two weeks earlier. Yesterday's price of $30.34 was up slightly from Wednesday's low of $26.55, but remained below the high of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices fell w/w to $29.37 per barrel and were $30.03 yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined to $2.20 last week (-25.3% y/y) and retraced the prior three weeks' improvement. Prices were $2.14 yesterday.

Gasoline demand declined 2.8% y/y last week and demand for all petroleum products fell 1.8% y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 1.7% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products rose 9.3% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 3.6% 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.

Weekly Energy Prices 01 /25/16 01/18/16 01/11/16 Y/Y% 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 1.86 1.91 2.00 -9.2 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 29.19 30.59 34.64 -37.2 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.20 2.32 2.38 -25.3 2.62 4.37 3.73
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