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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Ease; Crude Oil Costs Fall Sharply
by Tom Moeller  June 4, 2019

Retail gasoline prices slipped one penny last week to $2.81 per gallon (-4.5% y/y), the fourth consecutive weekly decline. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally-adjusted price fell three cents to $2.63 per gallon.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices weakened to an average $56.95 per barrel last week (-15.0% y/y). It was the lowest price since early-March and compared to the early-October high of $75.11. Yesterday, prices fell further to $53.25 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices fell to an average of $67.29 per barrel last week (-12.2% y/y). Prices reached a high of $84.96 in early-October. Yesterday, the price fell to $60.77 per barrel.

Natural gas prices were fairly steady at $2.65/mmbtu last week (-7.3% y/y). Prices remained below the early-March high of $3.28/mmbtu and declined to $2.50 yesterday.

In the four-weeks ending May 24, gasoline demand fell 2.2% y/y, while total petroleum product demand declined 2.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories declined 1.5% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products rose 4.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries slipped 0.3% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Why Is the Fed's Balance Sheet Still So Big? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 6/2/2019 5/27/2019 5/20/2019 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.81 2.82 2.85 -4.5 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 56.95 60.77 62.09 -15.0 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.65 2.66 2.67 -7.3 3.15 2.96 2.49
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