Gasoline futures fell as the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate rose, indicating payrolls are not growing fast enough to support greater fuel demand.
Prices retreated from yesterday’s six-month high as the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate rose to 9.8, the highest since April, from 9.6 percent in October. Payrolls increased by 39,000, less than the 150,000 gain projected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
“The jump in the jobless rate and the disappointing job- creation number triggered some profit-taking,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “The market is focusing on these economic reports.”
Gasoline for January delivery lost 2.31 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.3322 a gallon at 9:41 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The January contract rose 9.1 percent in the first four days of the week.
The premium of gasoline over crude oil, or the crack spread, based on January contracts, narrowed 85 cents to $10.07 a barrel.
The unemployment rate was forecast to hold at 9.6 percent, according to the median prediction of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Private payrolls, excluding government agencies, also gained less than forecast, adding 50,000 in November. Economists projected a 160,000 gain, the survey showed.
Heating oil for January delivery advanced 0.33 cent to $2.4579 a gallon. The heating oil crack spread, based on January contracts, gained 15 cents to $15.24 a barrel.
Stockpiles of distillates fell 194,000 barrels last week to 158.1 million, the 10th consecutive drop and the lowest level since June 18.
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