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Economy in Brief

U.S. Natural Gas Prices Increase; Petroleum Prices Steady
by Tom Moeller  September 27, 2016

Natural gas prices remained strong last week and increased to $3.07 per mmbtu (19.4% y/y). It was the highest level since December 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices were fairly steady at $3.05 yesterday.

Regular gasoline prices were little changed at $2.22 per gallon (-4.2% y/y). Prices remained down versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The adjusted price increased to $2.18 per gallon, the highest level since mid-June.

WTI crude oil prices rose to $44.67 per barrel last week (-2.0% y/y), but remained down versus the June high of $50.19. Prices hit a daily low of $26.21 per barrel in February. Yesterday, prices improved to $45.93 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices were steady at $46.24 per barrel last week, then were $46.61 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 4.1% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 3.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose a weakened 2.9% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 4.7% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) gained 2.5% 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 09/26/16 09/19/16 09/12/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.22 2.23 2.20 -4.2 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 44.67 44.34 45.96 -2.0 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.07 3.00 2.85 19.4 2.62 4.37 3.73
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