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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Ease as Natural Gas Costs Increase Again
by Tom Moeller  July 6, 2016

Regular gasoline prices fell to $2.29 per gallon last week (-18.0% y/y), down from $2.40 early last month, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nevertheless, prices remained near the highest level since early September. Prices are down, however, versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price declined to $2.14 per gallon, the lowest level since late May. Spot market gasoline prices fell w/w to $1.42, down from May's high of $1.64.

Prices for natural gas jumped to $2.86 per mmbtu last week (2.5% y/y) from $2.72 in the week prior, and were $2.82 yesterday.

Yesterday, WTI crude oil prices fell to $46.60 per barrel. They remained up, however, versus February's daily low of $26.21 per barrel. During all of last week, WTI crude oil costs fell to $48.19 per barrel (-16.8% y/y). Brent crude oil prices eased w/w to $49.47 per barrel, then were $49.02 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 1.8% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products gained 2.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 10.3% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased a diminished 5.9% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) eased 0.8% y/y in 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 07/04/16 06/27/16 06/20/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.29 2.33 2.35 -18.0 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 48.19 48.86 47.92 -16.8 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.86 2.72 2.57 2.5 2.62 4.37 3.73
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