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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Stabilize
by Tom Moeller  February 23, 2016

The $1.73 average pump price (-25.8% y/y) for a gallon of regular gasoline last week was little changed from $1.72 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price fell to $1.82 per gallon. The spot market gasoline price improved to $0.99 per gallon (-37.1% y/y) as of last week, up 10 cents from a week earlier.

WTI crude oil costs notched higher w/w to $30.03 per barrel last week (-41.9% y/y). Yesterday's price of $31.48 was the highest since earlier in the month, but still well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $33.66 per barrel and rose further to $34.59 yesterday, up from $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas continued to decline last week to $1.88 per mmbtu (-36.5% y/y), and were $1.84 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand strengthened 3.0% y/y, but demand for all petroleum products eased 0.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 6.4% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 9.0% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 1.3% y/y during 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 02/22/16 02/16/16 02/08/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 1.73 1.72 1.76 -25.8 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 30.03 28.13 31.28 -41.9 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.88 2.14 2.08 -36.5 2.62 4.37 3.73
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