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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Were Mixed
by Sandy Batten  September 29, 2020

• Gasoline prices were unchanged.

• Crude oil prices edged up.

• Natural gas prices tumbled again.

Regular gasoline prices were unchanged at $2.17 per gallon (-17.9% y/y) in the week ended September 28. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for usual seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price edged up to $2.12 per gallon from $2.11 per gallon the previous week. The reformulated RBOB Regular Gasoline Spot Price slipped two cents to $1.26 per gallon in the week ended September 25.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil edged up 0.8% w/w (-30.0% y/y) to average $39.86 per barrel in the week ended September 25 from $39.55 in the previous week. Yesterday, the price was $40.60 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil slipped 0.2% w/w (-33.7% y/y) to average $41.70 per barrel in the week ended September 25 from $41.77 in the previous week. The price rose to $42.57 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined sharply for the second consecutive week, falling 13.0% w/w (-33.3% y/y) to $1.68/mmbtu in the week ended September 25 from $1.93/mmbtu in the previous week. The weekly average price has fallen 33% in the past four weeks and is at its lowest level since early July. However, prices rebounded during much of the past week with the price yesterday closing at $1.83/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended September 18, gasoline demand declined 9.0% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 15.9% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 21.4% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories were 1.2% below a year ago while stocks of all petroleum products were 6.6% higher y/y. The ratio of oil inventories-to-demand jumped to a record 143 days in mid-April. In the week ended September 18, it stood at a still elevated 112 days.

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 09/28/20 09/21/20 09/14/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.17 2.17 2.18 -17.9 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 39.86 39.55 37.39 -30.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.68 1.93 2.16 -33.3 2.57 3.18 2.99
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