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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Firm; Natural Gas Jumps
by Tom Moeller  September 20, 2016

Regular gasoline prices recovered to $2.23 per gallon (-4.4% y/y) last week, and reversed the prior week's decline according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices remained down versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The adjusted price increased to $2.16 per gallon, the highest level since late-June.

Prices for natural gas increased to $3.00 per mmbtu (11.6% y/y) last week, the highest level since March 2015. Prices were fairly steady at $2.97 yesterday.

WTI crude oil costs declined to $44.34 per barrel last week (-2.5% y/y), the lowest level in five weeks. Prices have fallen versus a June high of $50.19, but remained up from February's daily low of $26.21 per barrel. Yesterday, prices fell further to $43.30 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined to $46.21 per barrel last week, then were $46.04 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 4.2% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 5.7% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 5.0% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 4.8% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) gained 2.0% 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 09/19/16 09/12/16 09/05/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.23 2.20 2.22 -4.4 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 44.34 45.96 45.11 -2.5 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.00 2.85 2.91 11.6 2.62 4.37 3.73
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