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The closing spot price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, averaged $52.52 per barrel during the second week of June ’19, down 19.6 percent from $65.35 for the same period in ‘18, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Fears of a softening global economy and rising U.S. inventories sent WTI prices down in June, hitting a 6-month low of $51. If not for U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian oil exports, along with sustained production cuts by OPEC, oil prices might have slipped further.
However, prices since mid-June rebounded on news of tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, the downing of a U.S. drone over Iran and an averted U.S. military strike against Iran. With tensions in the region high, WTI is currently trading at prices above $59. During the 12 months ending May ‘19, WTI averaged $61.96 per barrel, a 9.2 percent increase from $56.72 over the corresponding period in ‘18.
Natural gas prices averaged $2.64 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in May ’19, down 5.7 percent from $2.80 in May last year. For the past 12 months, gas prices averaged $3.10 per MMBtu, compared to $2.95 for the same period in ‘18.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects WTI to average $59 per barrel in ’19, down from $65 per barrel in ’18. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $2.77/MMBtu in ’19, down 38 cents from the 2018 average, and below its longer-run average of nearly $3 according to the Dallas Fed.
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Roel Gabe Martinez, GISP, CERP
Closing price for a barrel of WTI in mid-June '19
The EIA expects WTI to average $59 per barrel in '19