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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  December 8, 2020

• Gasoline prices reach eight-week high.

• Crude oil costs strengthen to highest level since March.

• Natural gas prices are trending higher.

The price of regular gasoline increased four cents last week to $2.16 per gallon (-15.8% y/y), adding to the prior week's two cent increase to $2.12. It was the highest level since the third week of October. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose six cents to $2.28 per gallon last week, its highest level since the third week of March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices increased to an average of $45.38 per barrel (-21.3% y/y) in the week ended December 4 from $44.44 per barrel in the previous week. This was the highest price since early-March. The price was $45.76 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $48.28 per barrel (-22.3% y/y) last week from $47.10 per barrel in the previous week. It increased to $48.71 yesterday.

The price of natural gas improved to $2.69/mmbtu (13.5% y/y) in the week ended December 4 from $2.39/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices have been moving up from $1.52/mmbtu since the third week of June. The price fell to $2.39 yesterday.

In the four weeks ended November 27, gasoline demand declined 9.9% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 9.0% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 15.1% y/y over the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories increased 1.9% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products rose 5.2% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory recently has risen to 28.2 days, up from 26.1 days early in October.

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 12/07/20 11/30/20 11/23/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.16 2.12 2.10 -15.8 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 45.38 44.44 41.59 -21.3 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.69 2.39 2.39 13.5 2.57 3.18 2.99
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