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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Jump; Crude Oil & Natural Gas Costs Ease
by Tom Moeller  September 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey has had a pronounced effect on gasoline prices. Regular gasoline prices at the pump jumped 28 cents in the week ended September 4 to $2.68 per gallon (20.5% y/y), the highest level since August 2015. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally adjusted gasoline price rose to $2.54 per gallon, the highest level since February of this year.

WTI crude oil prices eased to $46.67 per barrel last week (+3.5% y/y) and remained down from $53.18 in early-April. Prices strengthened yesterday to $48.66 per barrel. The 2-month futures contract price jumped, however, to $49.14. Brent crude oil prices gained to $51.96 per barrel last week, then were $53.25 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined to $2.89/mmbtu last week (-0.8% y/y) and were $2.86 yesterday.

In the week ended August 25, gasoline demand improved 0.2% y/y, while total petroleum product demand increased 3.4% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 0.9% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products declined 4.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries increased 5.3% 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 09/04/17 08/28/17 08/21/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.68 2.40 2.36 20.5 2.31 2.03 2.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 46.67 47.71 47.52 3.5 43.22 48.90 93.64
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.89 2.96 2.91 -0.8 2.49 2.62 4.37
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