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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil Prices Increase While Gasoline & Natural Gas Costs Decline
by Tom Moeller  April 7, 2020

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil at $26.08 per barrel yesterday improved versus an average $21.72 last week. The price was roughly two-thirds lower y/y. The price of Brent crude oil rose to $33.08 per barrel yesterday from an average of $28.36 last week. The price has fallen from a $67.38 high averaged in the last week of December.

Retail gasoline prices declined to $1.92 per gallon (-29.9% y/y) in the week ended April 6 from $2.00 per gallon in the previous week. Prices remained below their May 2019 peak of $2.90 per gallon. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price fell to $1.89 per gallon from $1.99.

The average price of natural gas fell to $1.62/mmbtu (-40.0% y/y) last week from $1.73 and was $1.64/mmbtu yesterday. It remained below the peak of $2.81/mmbtu early in November.

In the four weeks ending March 27, gasoline demand declined 5.9% y/y, while total petroleum product demand weakened 2.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 4.2% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 2.3% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 1.5% y/y in the past 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.

Weekly Energy Prices 04/06/20 03/30/20 03/23/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 1.92 2.00 2.12 -29.9 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 21.72 20.62 24.20 -65.2 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.62 1.73 1.79 -40.0 2.57 3.18 2.99
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