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EIA: Change in Energy Prices Mixed

EIA price changeDuring 2013, the prices of various energy commodities increased from 2012 levels or were down modestly as prices of nonenergy commodities generally fell significantly, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports. Prices for natural gas, western coal, electricity, and WTI crude were all higher (on average) in 2013 than in 2012, while the price of North Sea Brent crude oil, various petroleum products, and eastern coal all dropped.

In total, the divergence between price trends for energy and nonenergy commodities grew after the summer of 2013. In 2013, the energy component of the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index ended the year close to its starting point.

Crude oil futures often move in tandem with the price changes of other commodities. These correlations dropped in the latter half of 2013, indicating that commodity sector prices have been responding to factors in their respective markets rather than broad shifts in expectations of global economic growth.

Prices for major crude oil benchmarks and petroleum products ended the year mostly flat or down, influenced by world crisis in the summer that have since subsided.

Heating oil prices rose this year because of strong global demand for distillate fuel and inventories near five-year lows. Gasoline prices, however, declined as abundant supplies were produced as a result of the high refinery runs.

U.S. natural gas prices ended higher in 2013 as cold weather across much of the country drove prices well above $4 per million British thermal units ($/MMBtu) in both the physical and financial markets. As a result, natural gas prices were 50 cents to $1/MMBtu above their level at the start of the year.

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