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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  March 1, 2016

Petroleum prices stabilized last week following steady declines since the June highs. Regular gasoline averaged $1.78 per gallon last week (-27.9% y/y), up from $1.73 and the highest level since early in the month, 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 eased to $1.81 per gallon.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $32.24 per barrel last week (-34.4% y/y) from $30.02 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices continued to rebound to $33.75 per barrel, the highest level since mid-January. Prices remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $34.56 per barrel and rose further to $36.64 yesterday, up from $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas continued to decline last week to $1.78 per mmbtu (-42.2% y/y), and were $1.62 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand strengthened 5.2% y/y, but demand for all petroleum products notched just 0.2% higher y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 6.9% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 8.6% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 1.4% 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 02/29/16 02/22/16 02/16/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 1.78 1.73 1.72 -27.9 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 32.24 30.02 28.13 -34.4 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.78 1.88 2.14 -42.2 2.62 4.37 3.73
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