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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Improve Further
by Tom Moeller  April 26, 2016

Regular gasoline prices increased to $2.16 per gallon last week (-15.9% y/y) after rising to $2.14 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a low of $1.72 in February, but remained down from a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price eased to $2.08 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices jumped to $1.49, up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $42.03 per barrel last week (-25.1% y/y) after increasing to $41.25 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices improved to $42.64 per barrel, and remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $44.41 per barrel, then improved to $44.53 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas improved to $1.90 per mmbtu last week (-25.8% y/y), but backed up to $1.97 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 3.9% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 3.7% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.2% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 6.8% 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 4/25/16 04/18/16 04/11/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.16 2.14 2.07 -15.9 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 42.03 41.25 36.71 -25.1 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.90 1.89 1.92 -25.8 2.62 4.37 3.73
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