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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  May 24, 2016

Regular gasoline prices increased to $2.30 per gallon last week (-17.1% y/y) following two weeks of little change, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices were at the highest level since the first week of October. The price compares to a low of $1.72 in February, but it 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 increased to $2.13 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices eased in the prior week to $1.46, but remained up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs firmed to $48.02 per barrel last week (-18.5% y/y) after rising to $45.46 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices held at $48.08 per barrel, up from the February's daily low of $26.21 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $48.34 per barrel, then eased to $47.77 yesterday.

Prices for natural gas declined to $1.88 per mmbtu last week (-36.7% y/y), then recovered to $1.95 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 5.7% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products gained 2.7% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.3% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 6.7% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) was little changed y/y in 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 05/23/16 05/16/16 05/09/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.30 2.24 2.22 -17.1 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 48.02 45.46 44.22 -18.5 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.88 1.99 1.94 -36.7 2.62 4.37 3.73
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