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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Ease; Natural Gas Costs Jump
by Tom Moeller  June 21, 2016

Regular gasoline prices declined to $2.35 per gallon last week (-16.3% y/y) and reversed the prior week's rise to $2.40, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nevertheless, prices remained near the highest level since early September. Prices remained down, however, versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price declined to $2.17 per gallon, the lowest level in three weeks. Spot market gasoline prices eased w/w to $1.57, but remained up from the low of $0.89 in early February.

Prices for natural gas continued to strengthen and increased to $2.57 per mmbtu last week (-10.7% y/y) from $2.33, then rose further yesterday to $2.73.

WTI crude oil costs declined to $47.92 per barrel last week (-20.0% y/y) after rising to $50.19 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices recovered to $49.37 per barrel, up from the February's daily low of $26.21 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices fell w/w to $48.91 per barrel, then were $50.39 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 2.9% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products gained 3.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 8.8% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased a diminished 5.9% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) eased 0.8% 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.

Energy's Impact on Inflation Expectations from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 06/20/16 06/13/16 06/06/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.35 2.40 2.38 -16.3 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 47.92 50.19 48.99 -20.0 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.57 2.33 2.24 -10.7 2.62 4.37 3.73
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