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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  January 4, 2017

The cost of energy products is moving higher. Regular gasoline prices rose to $2.38 per gallon (17.2% y/y) last week, the highest level since early in June. Prices remained down from a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in these pump prices. Since weakness in gasoline demand generally leads to lower prices at this time of year, the seasonally adjusted price rose sharply last week to $2.68 per gallon, the highest level since December 2014.

Crude oil prices also continue to strengthen. WTI crude oil prices increased to $53.58 per barrel (44.9% y/y) last week. Prices were up to the highest level since July 2015. Yesterday, prices eased to $52.33 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $54.45 per barrel last week, then rose to $55.05 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices rose to $3.67/mmbtu last week (64.0% y/y), and made up most of the declines during the prior two weeks. They were close to their highest price level since December 2014. Prices eased to $3.39 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand declined 2.8% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products fell 1.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories increased 2.6% y/y, and inventories of all petroleum products increased 2.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries eased 0.6% 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 01/02/17 12/26/16 12/19/16 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.38 2.31 2.26 17.2 2.31 2.03 2.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 53.58 52.36 51.92 44.9 43.22 48.90 93.64
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.67 3.50 3.54 64.0 2.49 2.62 4.37
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