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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil & Natural Gas Prices Surge
by Tom Moeller  December 13, 2016

WTI crude oil prices jumped to $50.96 per barrel (38.0% y/y) last week, the highest level since July of last year. Yesterday, prices strengthened further to $52.83 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $53.92 per barrel last week, then rose to $55.35 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices increased to $3.70/mmbtu last week, and have nearly doubled y/y. It was the highest level since November 2014. Prices eased to $3.57 yesterday.

Regular gasoline prices increased to $2.24 per gallon (9.8% y/y) last week, the highest level since late October. Prices remained down versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in these pump prices. The adjusted price rose last week to $2.46 per gallon, and prices have firmed substantially since mid-year.

Last week, gasoline demand declined 1.2% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products fell 1.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 5.5% y/y, and inventories of all petroleum products increased 3.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries eased 1.0% 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 12/12/16 12/05/16 11/28/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.24 2.21 2.15 9.8 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 50.96 48.63 47.56 38.0 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.70 3.21 2.76 90.7 2.62 4.37 3.73
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