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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Recover Earlier Loss
by Tom Moeller  May 18, 2016

Regular gasoline prices rebounded to $2.24 per gallon last week (-18.3% y/y) after falling 2 cents to $2.22 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices were at the highest level since October. 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 was steady at $2.09 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices eased w/w to $1.45, but remained up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $45.45 per barrel last week (-24.3% y/y) after easing to $44.22 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices rose further to $48.31 per barrel, but remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $45.20 per barrel, then rose to $48.71 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas rose to $1.99 per mmbtu last week (-30.8% y/y), and were $1.97 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 5.1% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 3.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 6.7% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) fell 1.2% 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.

The minutes of the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 05/16/16 05/09/16 05/02/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.24 2.22 2.24 -18.3 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 45.45 44.22 44.31 -24.3 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.99 1.94 1.91 -30.8 2.62 4.37 3.73
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