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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  January 30, 2018

Retail gasoline prices rose to $2.61 per gallon (13.5% y/y) last week from $2.57 per gallon. It was the highest level since mid-September. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. Since prices typically weaken this time of year, the seasonally-adjusted price increased to an even greater degree to $2.86 per gallon, the highest level since December 2014.

WTI crude oil prices strengthened to $65.07 per barrel (22.8% y/y) last week following the prior week's uptick to $63.78 per barrel. It was the highest cost since early-December 2014. Prices rose yesterday to $65.56 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $70.04 per barrel last week and slipped to $68.41 yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined to $3.43/mmbtu (+4.8% y/y), but improved to $3.56/mmbtu yesterday.

In the week ended January 19, gasoline demand strengthened 5.4% y/y, while total petroleum product demand increased 8.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories declined 3.6% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products declined 8.3% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries improved 3.0% 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 01/29/18 01/22/18 1/15/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.61 2.57 2.56 13.5 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 65.07 63.78 63.25 22.8 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.43 3.88 3.22 4.8 2.96 2.49 2.62
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