Big moves in energy markets

Volatility in the crude oil and natural gas markets has been a big topic among investors and policy makers recently. Limited supplies and higher demand are pushing prices higher, and stock prices in the Energy sector are responding.

The chart below helps put recent movements in perspective, seen in the context of the last five years. Crude oil prices (second section, in red) have just recently topped their 2018 peak, completing a full recovery from the COVID-related drop and weakness that preceded COVID. But the five-year average for crude oil has been about $55/bbl, with a low of $25 (on this measure, which uses an average of the next 12 months of crude oil futures contracts to avoid near-contract distortions) and a current high of $76. So crude is elevated but not at an extraordinary level given it was at about the same price in October 2018. And it reached much higher levels above $100/bbl. back in 2008, 2011, and 2012.