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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Top Out
by Tom Moeller  May 10, 2016

Regular gasoline prices eased to $2.22 per gallon last week (-17.5% y/y) after rising to $2.24 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices remained near the highest level since October. The price compares to a low of $1.72 in February, but remained down from 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 $2.09 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices increased w/w to $1.54, and remained up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs were fairly steady at $44.23 per barrel last week (-26.0% y/y) after increasing to $44.31 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices declined to $43.44 per barrel, and remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices fell w/w to $45.19 per barrel, then eased also to $43.44 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas improved to $1.94 per mmbtu last week (-29.6% y/y), and rose further to $1.97 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 5.8% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products also improved 5.8% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 6.4% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) declined 1.2% 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 05/09/16 05/02/16 4/25/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.22 2.24 2.16 -17.5 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 44.23 44.31 41.84 -26.0 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.94 1.91 1.90 -29.6 2.62 4.37 3.73
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