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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil & Natural Gas Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  October 18, 2016

WTI crude oil prices rose to $50.42 per barrel last week (7.7% y/y). Yesterday, prices eased to $49.94 per barrel, but they remain up from a daily low of $26.21 per barrel in February. Brent crude oil prices rose to $52.26 per barrel last week, then were $51.54 yesterday.

Natural gas prices increased sharply to $3.15 per mmbtu (29.2% y/y) last week from $2.89, then were $3.16 yesterday.

Regular gasoline prices were little changed at $2.26 per gallon (-0.9% y/y) last week, but remained near the highest level since early July. 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. The adjusted price increased to $2.26 per gallon, the highest level since early-January.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 2.3% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 2.4% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose a weakened 1.9% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 3.5% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) gained 2.3% 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 10/17/16 10/10/16 10/03/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.26 2.27 2.25 -0.9 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 50.42 49.50 46.57 7.7 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.15 2.89 2.97 29.2 2.62 4.37 3.73
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